For the last four years, I have worn braces for your feet including both day and night ones. I started wearing them due to the immense amount of tightness within my Achilles tendon, which impacted any physical activity I could do and the way that I walked. The purpose of the device is to enhance the amount of stretching individuals complete on a daily basis. The day braces are meant to stretch your legs while night braces prolong the stretching benefits.
I began using the day braces although, I had trouble wearing them due to the discomfort I had since I had to repeatedly tighten the braces to actually perform a stretch. The braces led to rashes all over my foot and felt uncomfortable to do even for a short thirty minutes. Although, I did quickly notice benefits as I kept increasing the amount of cranking I could do. However, I was forced to have a heavyweight resting on my legs to prevent my ankle from lifting up while it is in the device. If you would prefer to not have to sleep in them, I would recommend attempting to use the day braces as they both come with many benefits.
Following my discomfort, my family and I communicated to people in the Muscular Dystrophy clinic in Vegas of this discomfort. I was recommended by many of the professionals there to use night braces as it would be much more comfortable than the day ones. Although, the thought of me wearing it at night was unthinkable as I already struggled to fall asleep in the first place.
Night braces are worn throughout the night and do not have the same intensity as day braces. I began wearing them around two years ago, but I could not fall asleep in them which prohibited me from receiving a good amount of sleep. For a time, I completely stopped wearing them, but once again we got another pair of night braces, which were a lot more comfortable. The professional had made padding in specific areas aiming to make the braces more comfortable. Therefore, different critiques can be made to the device to make it is as comfortable as possible.
Today I finally am wearing them consistently and am making huge progress in increasing the flexibility of my ankle impacting my entire body positively. While they do not stay on my leg the entire night, I definitely feel a negative consequence when I do not wear it at night. However, the only way that the night braces can be beneficial is if you do self-stretching on your own. As I said before, it prolongs the stretch since it maintains dorsiflexion (the movement of your toes closest to your body) throughout the night.
When you sleep, people with muscular dystrophy are more inclined to plantar flexion (when your foot is positioned straight away from your body). Locking your leg in the plantarflexion positions leads to an increased amount of tightness in the Achilles area. Since people with muscular dystrophy have a lot more tightness, which is difficult to reduce, maintaining the foot in the stretched position will limit the amount of inflammation in the body. As a supplement to daily stretching exercises, I would say night braces have been one of the most impactful devices that I have ever used in my life.
One of the websites I used to help establish recovery exercises to help my leg was from Invictus Fitness. They display methods that can help reduce tightness in your Achilles tendon, display the importance of the tendon, and explains the use of the tendon in more detail. Once again please remember to be careful when completing these exercises and ensure not to cause too much damage to your muscles with many of these recovery methods. Since there is no spectrum to determine how much work can be done on the body try to be as careful as possible. Although, night braces and the release of tightness in the Achilles tendon can transform your life entirely.