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Heel not touching bottom of night splint?

Posted by Liam on 8/15/04 at 07:29 (157944)

Its 2 days I started wearing a Langer night splint, I noticed that when I strap in my heel dosen't touch the bottom of the splint is this normal? when I standup in it does. But while in bed I can feel only the ball of the foot touching it. I wake up few times a night with this thing on me, and around 5 am I finally take it off hoping to get a few hours sleep. Is six hours stretch, reasonable? The foot shifts a bit when I turn on my sides, is this ok or does the foot have to be strapped tight?
My pods away...
Thanks for the replies

Re: Heel not touching bottom of night splint?

JudyS on 8/15/04 at 12:21 (157975)

Liam - your experience with the night splint is very, very common. The reason, as you may have guessed, that your heel will touch the splint when you're standing is because your weight is forcing the stretch of your achilles and calf muscles. But you may want to be very careful about that else you could further irritate the PF.
Six hours is extremely good! Many folks, when using a splint for the first time, use it just for a couple of hours when watching TV in the evenings then 'graduate' in to wearing it overnight. It's important not to force it - let the splint do its work over time and you'll know when you can snug it up a bit. You'll get used to it at night too.

Re: Heel not touching bottom of night splint?

april l on 8/15/04 at 12:49 (157980)

I'm not a doctor, but I am hoping to hear the doctor's response. I had the same problem and all my doctor did was add padding around my ankle to keep it in position. Even with the padding, My heel did not really touch but it was close enough that I was getting the stretch. I stopped wearing it though because it caused the ball of my foot to hurt and go numb. I have a tight achilles so the pressure was too much.

Re: Heel not touching bottom of night splint?

Susan S on 8/15/04 at 13:54 (157984)

Liam, I have been wearing night splints for over a year now. Some splints have a higher degree of bend in them than others. I've seen what they call 5 degree splints and also 10 degree splints. I believe this refers to how the plastic is molded between the foot and leg parts of the splint, and is the number of degrees from a 90 degree angle. So a 10 degree splint would feel tighter and create more of a stretch on your foot than a 5 degree one. I'm not a doctor, but I think that a splint that is too tight will keep your heel from touching. So, long story short, your splint might be too tight to start with.

Sometimes I'll wake up with a weird pain in a foot, and will take the splint off. I always wear it again the next night, and eventually the weird pains stop. At that point I'll tighten the straps a little and go through the process again.

Also, if the splint is tight, my toes will get numb. With me, and of course this is just with me, the numbness always goes away. I actually tighten the straps when my toes stop going numb, because I figure I'm ready to tighten a little. I think the numbness means something that needs to be stretched is being stretched. I'm not a medical professional at all so all of this is just my personal experience and opinion.

Also, I only tighten a quarter inch at a time.

Re: Heel not touching bottom of night splint?

Julie on 8/15/04 at 14:12 (157986)

Also: remember that the purpose of the night splint isn't to actively stretch the calves and achilles, it's just to keep them in a gently lengthened state so that they don't tighten overnight. I agree with Susan that your splint is probably too tight.

Re: Heel not touching bottom of night splint?

Liam on 8/16/04 at 07:58 (158057)

Well accually in my case he wanta to stretch the achilles tendon because he thinks the heel problem is cause of very tight achilles, to the point that I.m getting spurs , where the achilles inserts in the bone. i also feel a tad numb on the ball of the foot. thanks for the replies, it be nice if a doc replies too.
Good day