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Treating Plantar Fasciitis with a Night Splint


The plantar fascia is a ligament full of fibers that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes.

When the tears are located at the end of the ligament attached to the calcaneous, or heel bone, what you feel is plantar fasciitis or heel pain—a burning, aching or sticking sensation.
As you sleep, your foot naturally and normally flexes downward, and the plantar fascia contracts. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, the initial stretching of the ligament when you arise from bed and put your foot on the floor will be particularly painful.
Wearing a night splint (or more precisely, a dorsiflexion night splint) keeps your toes flexed a bit upward so the plantar fascia does not have the opportunity to contract. Thus, in the morning, you reduce the difference between the ligament’s position while you were sleeping and the ligament’s position when you place your foot on the floor. This should alleviate a good deal of pain.
Conservative methods of treating plantar fasciitis include other modalities besides a night splint. The simplest include:

  • rest
  • ice packs on your heel for 10 minutes a few times daily
  • calf-muscle stretches- wear footwear when doing stretches

You should also avoid walking barefoot, which strains the plantar fascia. Your doctor may recommend taking a pain reliever like ibuprofen or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
We can help you manage your plantar fasciitis with additional foot devices, such as custom orthotics and pads, as well as a program of physical therapy exercises. In tandem, this regimen can help you avoid foot pain first thing in the morning.

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Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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