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Plantar fasciitis can be treated in a number of ways. Doctors often recommend resting the foot, icing, physical therapy, splints and shoe replacement, among others to treat this medical condition. There are certain devices that are used in helping the patients get better. These include night splints, shoe modifications and orthotics.
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by the flat footedness or the low arch of the foot. And as such, doctors recommend that patients make changes in their shoes or obtain some modifications to help with their condition.
It is important for patients who are experiencing pains in the heel to have supportive heel counter and rigid midsole in their footwear. Fancy and stylish pairs of shoes often do not have enough support for the arches and this could further worsen plantar fasciitis.
Buying a pair of shoes that provide adequate support for the heels and arch is an option. But for those who would like to continue using their current pair of shoes, then they can simply obtain shoe insoles that are effective in combating plantar fasciitis. There are shoe inserts that can be bought over-the counter and shoe inserts may also be custom made through orthotics.
Some over the counter shoe modifications include moldable foot beds, gel heel cups and arch braces, among others.
The moldable footbeds can be heated using an oven, and placed inside the shoes of the patient for molding. These moldable footbeds, however, are incapable of providing motion control.
Gel heel cups, on the other hand, are made from silicon and they cup the heel. The main objective of this device is to provide extra shock relief to those suffering from heel pain. The gel heel cups can be used with regular footwear as an additional cushion.
The arch brace is another over-the-counter product which supports and lifts the band of connective tissue that aids in maintaining the arch of the foot—the plantar fascia. The arch brace is adjustable given its Velcro straps. The main function of this device is to provide relief from pain.
Orthontics are more expensive compared to over the counter products since they are custom made. Orthontics are often prescribed for those with recurring plantar fasciitis.
Hiking boots are also recommended for patients of plantar fasciitis as hiking boots offer the best support and protection for the feet. Keep in mind that hiking boots have stiff soles.
The majority of individuals have their feet in a plantar-flexed position while sleeping which in turn keeps the plantar fascia shortened. The night splints ensure that the foot is in a neutral position thus allowing the foot to passively stretch both the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon. The stretch provides rest and healing.
A night splint can be made from either plaster or fiberglass casting material. Additionally, some also use commercially released pre-fabricated plastic brace.
Icing the affected area is the first thing to do as an anti-inflammatory treatment. Icing can be done through ice bath, ice pack or ice massage. Additionally, there are also some over-the-counter products for cold compress for plantar fasciitis patients such as cold foot wrap and cryosphere.
Cold foot wrap is a sleeve with re-freezable gel. It is a less messy way of icing. Users must simply take it out from the freezer and wrap it around their foot.
The cryosphere, on the other hand, provides relief as it provides a foot massage and an icing device. This foot-ball shaped item should be taken out from the freezer and rolled under the foot for a cold therapy and for massaging the affected areas. The cryosphere stretches the foot while relieving the patients with pain because of its cold therapy function.