Plantar fasciitis is a serious condition, which can have a negative impact on the overall quality of life. The chronic inflammation causes discomfort, pain and stiffness; because of the symptoms experienced, the patient will avoid movement altogether, which in turn will reinforce the pain. This vicious cycle can be easily broken with the help of top medical devices, such as night splints and orthoses. Laser treatments and foot massagers can be of use in improving the symptomatology experienced by patients with plantar fasciitis as well.

Night splints

In the majority of cases, the symptoms of plantar fasciitis are successfully managed with the help of conservative treatments, such as night splints. According to a study published as part of a PhD degree paper, the dorsiflexion night splints, as well as the medial arch supports can greatly improve the symptoms of this inflammatory condition.

The main advantage of the night splints is that they prevent the contracture of the plantar fascia while the patient sleeps; they also act on the Achilles tendon, ensuring that the patient wakes up with considerably less pain in the morning. As for the medial arch supports, these can reduce the stress imposed on the plantar fascia during the day.

Orthoses

Orthotic inserts are considered part of the conservative treatments as well, being often recommended for the reduction of pain and most commonly in adults. As a study published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation has demonstrated, custom-made orthoses are highly efficient when it comes to reducing the pain caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia.

Orthotic inserts are easily available, which makes them even more essential for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis (professional athletes included). However, the authors of the study draw attention to the limitations of these devices. It is possible that the pain experienced is reduced but not completely eliminated. Moreover, other symptoms might remain just as intense and/or frequent. Additional research was also deemed to be necessary, with regard to how these orthotic inserts would influence the athletic activity for professional athletes.

Laser treatments

Laser treatments are generally recommended for patients who suffer from chronic plantar fasciitis, with symptoms that refuse to go away or decrease in intensity by resorting to conservative treatments. According to a study published in Foot & Ankle International, low-level laser therapy promises to offer excellent results for the treatment of both acute and chronic plantar fasciitis.

The usage of laser therapy has contributed to a reduction in both the intensity and frequency of the heel pain, which we all know to be commonly caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia. The advantages of this form of treatment refer to the absence of pain, the fact that this is a non-invasive procedure and that it is highly efficient on the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. The patients who took part to the study were assessed with the help of the Visual Analog Scale and the Foot Function Index.

Foot massagers

Massage therapy is often prescribed to those who are suffering from plantar fasciitis, as it can reduce the tension and bring the much-desired relief from the pain and inflammation. According to a research article published in Novel Physiotherapies, both transverse friction massage and deep friction massage can be used as conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis. And if you do not have the time to go out and get a massage, you can easily use a foot massager.

A foot massager has a wide range of benefits to offer, starting with the fact that it provides relief from the symptoms experienced. Moreover, it is easy to use and it does not require any additional experience in the field of massage. All you have to do is follow the instructions, using the foot massager on a daily basis (or even more often, if it is necessary).

Heel pads

Heel pads are among the solutions mentioned for the management of plantar fasciitis. These are often made from silicone and they vouch to reduce the intensity and/or frequency of the heel pain. As a study published in Clinical Research on Foot & Ankle has pointed out, the silicone heel pad delivers the best results for patients diagnosed with unilateral plantar fasciitis, when used in combination with a soft insole (arch support included).

The biggest advantage that the heel pad has to offer is the reduction of heel pain, the staple symptom of this inflammatory condition. Once the heel pain has been reduced in both intensity and frequency, patients can return to their normal level of activity and, thus, enjoy a better quality of life overall. The foot function improvement was noticed to be present on a long-term basis, which is another positive factor to take into consideration. As with other conservative treatments, it is for the best that these heel pads are custom-made.

Walker boot

The walker boot is a conservative solution as well, being recommended in the situation that the patient does not respond to other treatment solutions (physiotherapy, ultrasound, iontophoresis etc.). According to a scientific article published in RBO, this form of immobilization can be pursued.

Basically, the affected foot will be placed in a plaster-cast boot, which can be removed when walking is necessary. This is known as the walker boot and, depending on the symptomatology experienced by the patient, it can be worn for approximately six to eight weeks. The doctor will decide whether the walker boot is the best solution for each individual case, based on the physical examination and the results of the imagistic investigations.

Final word

These are some of the top medical devices that can be used for those who have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. As you have seen, these are meant to improve the symptomatology experienced and, thus, increase the current level of functionality. If the patient is able to resume his/her previous activities, this means that the conservative treatment has been successful and that surgery should no longer be considered as an option for the future.

Other references:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1839987/

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/86143-treatment

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0915/p676.html

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0201/p467.html

http://www.podiatrytoday.com/guide-conservative-care-plantar-fasciitis

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