A night splint can't be effective unless a patient wears it. Now there's a brace so comfortable you will use it. The A-Force Dorsal Night Splint has been designed to hold the foot in a neutral position during sleep, thereby helping to alleviate the morning pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis, and may also be used for virtually any condition where stabilization of the ankle in a neutral position is desired.
Definition of functional equinus:
A functional equinus occurs when there is less than 10 degrees of ankle joint dorsiflexion available during normal ambulation or less than the required amount of adequate ankle joint dorsiflexion during exercise.
Functional equinus contributes to several common foot and ankle disorders including but not limited to heel pain, plantar faciitis, extensor tendonitis, peroneal tendonitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, achilles tendonitis, sesamoditis, Metatarsalgia metatarsal stress fractures, hallux limitus, tarsal tunnel syndrome, dorsal cutaneous nerve neuritis and shin splints.
A functional equinus can be a static or dynamic condition. Most commonly a functional equinus is generally a dynamic condition that varies in intensity throughout the course of a 24-hour day. It is directly impacted by the patient's foot type and level of activity throughout the course of a day. This explains the normal variation in symptoms that a patient may experience during the day.
During the course of a normal day the only occurrence of physiological stretching of the calf muscles occurs during initial weight bearing following rest. All other activity and inactivity results in tightening of the calf muscles. For the most part calf stretching must be an intentional act initiated by the patient. Frequently calf muscle stretching is misunderstood and improperly instructed.
During rest the calf muscles will tighten and reduce available ankle joint dorsiflexion. As a consequence the symptomatic patient will frequently experience pain initially upon weight bearing. Over a short period of time the symptoms will ease or subside as the calf muscles initially stretch and allow increased ankle joint dorsiflexion. As the day progresses activity causes the calf muscles to tighten thus reducing available ankle joint dorsiflexion and initiating a new round of symptoms for the patient.
The affect of inadequate ankle joint dorsiflexion (functional equinus) is to significantly increase the pronatory forces on the subtalar and midtarsal joints of the foot. As the body passes over the ankle joint that has inadequate range of motion the abnormal forces that are generated into the foot are amplified by 100's of foot-pounds per square inch. The subtalar joint pronates allowing increased dorsiflexion at the midtarsal joint to allow the body to pass over the foot. This repetitive stress on the joints and soft tissues that support the normal functioning of the foot contributes to a vast array of chronic and acute foot and ankle disorders resulting in pain and disability.
Example Graph of Symptomatic Patient - extrapolated
The treatment of functional equinus consists of proper and regular calf muscle stretching exercises, heel lifts, functional orthotics and night splints. Until recently night splints have been of limited value because of their bulky nature. They were uncomfortable to wear at night and the patient could not walk while wearing the splint. Thus patient compliance was extremely low and the effectiveness of the night splint was minimal.
Recently a new design for the night splint has been offered. It is called the dorsal night splint produced by Active Ankle Systems Inc. This patented design allows the patient to do limited walking while wearing the splint in the evening and is comfortable to wear at night while sleeping. Combined with proper and adequate calf muscle stretching the dorsal night splint is an effective and cost effective means of treating an array of foot and ankle disorders.
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