Since night splint is proved as one of the most effective and economical treatments to plantar fasciitis, more and more people who are suffering from plantar fasciitis are using night splint. Therefore, night splint manufacturers are trying their best to improve quality of their products, bring more new features. That’s the reason why there are thousands model of plantar fasciitis night splint on the market now. But basically, night splints are divided into 3 main types: dorsal, boot and soft type. Understanding the differences of those 3 types would help you to make better decision when buying night splint.
Boot night splint
Boot type is the first type of night splint used to treat plantar fasciitis. As its name suggests, the boot night splint looks like a boot. This type of night splint covers back of the leg, calf and foot. Normally, boot night splint has a hard shell to protect the foot and a soft foaming interior to bring comfort.
Because boot night splint cover nearly the entire back of leg and the foot, so it help to stretch out not only the plantar fascia but also the Achilles tendons. In addition, most of boot night splint has adjustable straps to change the stretching angle. This feature is important because doctors usually advise to start with gentle stretch first and then adjust the stretching angle gradually.
Boot night splint is bigger and more bulky then other types, so it’s more uncomfortable to wear. Therefore, it’s nearly impossible to walk when wearing boot night splint. Besides, sometimes it makes toe go numb.
Dorsal night splint
Dorsal night splint occurs later and is simpler than boot one. This type only covers the shin and top of the foot while leaves the heel and arch free. Different from boot type, dorsal night splint stretch the toes upward and keeps the foot at fixed 90 degree position.
Dorsal type is created to solve most of the problems with boot type. Dorsal night splint is simpler, lighter, more breathable and as a result, more comfortable. So most of plantar fasciitis patients now prefer this type over boot one. Furthermore, you still can walk for some steps with dorsal night splint.
The most noticeable drawback of dorsal night splint is that it’s unable to change the stretching angle. Besides, slippage is easier to happen because heel and arch are left uncovered.
Soft night splint
The simplest form of night splint is soft night splint. This type of night splint looks like a sock that covers foot and heel and there is a strap that connects the toe and top of ankle to keep the foot stretched. Soft night splint is very comfortable but not used widely because it doesn’t show high effectiveness in treating plantar fasciitis.
In short, you have to understand your condition and requirements to know which type of night splint is suitable to you. If you are light sleeper and can’t sleep with some bulky thing attached to foot, dorsal night splint is your answer. On the contrary, if you often sleep easily and need night splint that could adjust stretching angle, boot type is better choice.