Night Splint Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis A Prospective Randomized Study

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Abstract

A prospective randomized study of 116 patients with plantar fasciitis was performed to determine the effectiveness of adjuvant night splint therapy in relieving the acute symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Patients were randomized into one of two groups. Patients in Group 1 were treated with 1 month of oral antiinflammatory medication, Achilles stretching exercises, and shoe recommendations. Patients in Group 2 received identical treatment but also used a dorsiflexion night splint for 3 months. Blinded clinical review of patients was performed at 4, 6, and 12 weeks. Health status data Short Form 36 also was collected at these times and again at an average 19 months of followup. Overall, 68% of patients reported improvement with this nonop-erative protocol for a 12-week period. No statistical difference was seen with the presence or absence of a night splint. In addition, no differences in improvement rates were observed with gender, duration of antecedent symptoms, the presence of bilateral symptoms, or the presence of a heel spur. Age older than 45 years did prove to be a statistically significant poor prognostic factor for improvement at the 12-week followup. Short Form 36 data obtained at baseline showed significantly lowered perception of health when compared with age matched controls. Patients in both treatment groups had significant improvement in Short Form 36 scores with 12 weeks of conservative care.

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