An innovative night splint for the treatment of plantar heel pain
The Ortho-Team AG «Dorsallift» – an innovative solution for the treatment of plantar heel pain. An efficacy study on the clinical effectiveness and optimization of the «Dorsallift» night-splint.
- Lead school School of Health Professions
- Institute Physiotherapy
- Research unit Neuromuskuläre Kontrolle
- Funding organisation Innosuisse
- Duration 01.01.2020 - 31.03.2023
- Project management Prof. Dr. Heiner Baur
- Head of project Prof. Dr. Heiner Baur
- Partner Ortho-Team AG Bern
- Keywords Plantar heel pain+, plantar fasciitis, foot orthoses, Night splint
Plantar heel pain is an acute inflammatory or chronic degenerative change in the tendon plate on the sole of the foot and is considered a common complaint in the general population and in sports. Multiple conservative therapies are often prescribed to treat the condition (e.g., physical therapy, shoe inserts, infiltrations, night bedding splints). Night bedding splints seem to be a promising option according to the literature, however, conventional splints have many disadvantages in handling which are detrimental to compliance. An innovative night positioning splint such as the „Dorsallift" from the ORTHO-TEAM Group thus has considerable potential to positively adress the disadvantages of current splints (heavy, clunky, uncomfortable, poor ventilation) in the market with a unique design (e.g. exposed heel) and material (thermoplastic). However, there is a lack of evidence to prove clinical efficacy. Therefore, it has been possible so far to convince single physicians of the advantages of the “Dorsallift”, but scientific proof is required for a penetrating argumentation on the market. A study must therefore now prove the effectiveness of the “Dorsallift” so that the positive subjective experiences can be objectively substantiated.
Course of action
Therefore, we are planning a randomized, controlled study in which both subjective data (pain and function) and objective data on tendon structure (ultrasound diagnostics) will be collected. Patient feedback will be used to further develop and market the «Dorsallift».
In the study, one group of patients with plantar heel pain was treated with foot orthoses. A second group of patients also received foot orthoses and an additional «Dorsallift» splint. Both groups showed a significant improvement in pain symptoms after an 8-week intervention. Similarly, scores assessing the functional limitations caused by the complaints improved. This was measured with the «Foot-Function-Index» FFI. This index was developed specifically for foot-related complaints. Quality of life, as measured by the «12-item Short Form Survey (SF-12)» questionnaire, also improved slightly. The «Dorsallift» group showed a slightly stronger improvement than the group that was only fitted with shoe inserts. The wearing comfort of the «Dorsallift» aid was assessed positively throughout.
Subsequently, a clear therapy recommendation can be formulated. With appropriate advertising and dissemination of the study results, it is possible to achieve, that physicians and therapists will refrain from prescribing multiple therapies in the future. Ultimately, this will also save costs for the health care system (therapy costs, lost working hours).