They began when I started wearing Crocs. When I saw the doctor he said those are actually one of the worse shoes to wear and definitely said never to wear flip flops. They put your feet in abnormal positions and stretch the tendons too far and then they get inflamed. The first thing I did was get PT. They showed me all kinds of exercises I could do at home an did some ultrasound therapy. After about a month I was doing pretty good. Still had a small spot on the bottom of heel that hurt. Podiatrist then recommended custom orthotics which worked some but still had pain. Then we began using Night Splints (that's what you guys are calling the braces you are wearing) Actually what they do is rest the tendon in your arch that is inflammed. When your foot drops the tendon is stretched when it is put into a night splint the foot is flexed up which actually puts the tendon in it's normal position and allows it to rest. That's why you don't hurt when you first get up. Some splints can be hard to wear but there are many out there. I just bought my second pair. YOu can google and find several. I've had good luck with a site called the Brace Shop. My foot continued to hurt and since I can't have cortisone shots since I'm allergic to steroids I ended up having foot surgery. The recovery is long but has seemed to be worth it. I've dealt with this for 2 years now and I highly recommend you see a Podiatrist. They can refer you to PT and give you advice on how to heal this in the long term. Most people will heal in about 6months to a year. Exercises are very important to do and if it hurts a lot to get up in the morning I highly recommend getting a pair of night splints. If you're seeing a podiatrist you insurance may even pay for them along with a pair custom made inserts. Do everything you can to avoid surgery. Although I had no other choices it was a long recovery. 3weeks in a walking boot but couldn't do any walking, 3 more weeks in the walking boot but on crutches, 3 weeks in tennis shoes and gradually work into work shoes over the next 3 weeks. I had the surgery in middle of June and still haven't' been cleared to go back to exercising and doing Karate. See him Friday and hopefully get the okay. Fortunately for me my oldest was in college and my youngest had just graduated. Unfortunately they had jobs for the summer so they couldn't help at home. Again, Highly Recommend Exercises, custom orthotics and night splints. And definitely see a Podiatrist.