Foot splints — or foot orthoses, as they are often called — are external devices used to treat certain orthopedic conditions. There are several types of foot splints, and their therapeutic uses include reducing pain, stabilizing joints and improving mobilization. They can also be used as a preventive or corrective device in certain circumstances. Among the most common foot splints are the Jones bandage, the plaster backslab and the plantar fasciitis stretch splint.
Foot splints are often used to treat injuries resulting in ligament damage or sprains, and they are frequently less supportive than the casts used for more severe orthopedic injuries such as breaks in the bone. Foot splints can be purchased readymade at pharmacies or medical supply companies, or they can be custom made by foot specialists. Splints come in a variety of sizes and specifications to fit an individual’s needs. They can be rigid or flexible and are manufactured with a blend of treatment and comfort in mind. Splints can be simple or elaborate in design, are generally made from high-quality material, and are usually adjustable for a customized fit.
The Jones bandage is a type of foot splint that functions as a compression dressing to control swelling in the ankle and other joints. This type of splint consists of rolls of soft padding wrapped around the joint, with an additional outer layer of soft material — often flannel — to keep the joint immobilized. The Jones bandage is effective in helping to minimize the pain of a joint injury.
The plaster backslab splint, as the name implies, is made from plaster that is about 4 inches to 6 inches (10 cm to 15 cm) thick. This splint is fitted to the back of the injured foot and held in place by strips of material that can be adjusted to accommodate for any inflammation that may occur. The plaster backslab foot splint is particularly useful for temporarily immobilizing the foot or ankle to facilitate healing.
The plantar fasciitis stretch splint is a type of foot splint used to ease the pain of plantar fasciitis, a condition characterized by the swelling of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. The shape of this food splint, which encourages the toes to be drawn into an upward position, addresses the intense heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis by stretching the plantar tendon. This splint also utilizes orthopedic tape and a specialized taping technique to ensure proper positioning.
Drop foot is another condition that is treated using a specific kind of foot splint. People who suffer from drop foot have a difficult time lifting the front part of their foot, which makes normal walking hard. A drop foot splint is designed to allow the patient to be able to achieve normal foot position, thus achieving a normal gait.