Purpose: The goal of this review was to analyze evidence-based research in an attempt to answer the PICO question: For runners experiencing plantar fasciitis, what is considered the best physical therapy intervention to reduce pain?
Background: Running is a common form of exercise and recreation enjoyed by many people. Injuries often plague runners and of those, plantar fasciitis, an overuse injury to the plantar aponeurosis, is common as it affects roughly 10% of runners.
Case Description: The patient was a 22-year-old former college cross country runner training for his first marathon. During training, he noticed pain in his heel but did not think much of it and continued training. He started the marathon, but just past half-way had to drop out due to a significant increase in pain. He went to urgent care and then later to a podiatrist, finding out he partially torn his plantar fascia. After spending 6 weeks in a walking boot, during which time he did not receive physical therapy, he was slowly allowed to return to running.
Methods: A search using multiple databases was completed to find physical therapy interventions used in the treatment of plantar fasciitis to see if anything could have been done when the pain first appeared to prevent the more serious injury and potentially allowed the patient to finish the race.
Discussion: There are many current treatment options for individuals experiencing pain from plantar fasciitis including manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, modalities, and mechanical interventions. Each has proven beneficial in reducing pain in those individuals making it difficult to answer the PICO question. Because of this, it is important for there to be more research done looking at comparing the treatment techniques to get a better idea of the benefit each has in reducing pain in both the short and long term.
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Marybeth Barkocy, PT, DPT, PCS
plantar fasciitis, runners, treatment, manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, modalities
Chenoweth, Zach. "Physical Therapy Interventions for Runners Experiencing Plantar Fasciitis: An Evidence Based Analysis." (2018). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/dpt/146