Plantar fasciitis is a painful and insidious condition that can make life miserable for anyone. For runners and other physically active people, it can be particularly frustrating, keeping you from doing the things you love and interfering with performance and fitness goals.
To date, treatment for plantar fasciitis has mostly centered on orthotic aids pain management and stretching. Yet even with the most aggressive treatment, plantar fasciitis can linger for months or even years.
Now, new research offers hope for a faster, more complete recovery from plantar fasciitis.
Building on previous research by Wearing et al. (2006), that revealed similarities between plantar fasciitis and other tendinopathies, Rathieff et al. (2017) put Wearings theory to the test by using high-load strength training to treat plantar fasciitis. The treatment approach had proven effective in treating other tendinopathies in the patellar and Achilles tendons.
The study was a controlled trial that used 48 patients with ultrasound-verified plantar fasciitis. Patients were randomly assigned to either a control group who did traditional plantar-specific stretching, or to a group treated with progressive high-load resistance training.
By dorsiflexing the toes on a rolled up towel and performing single-leg calf raises, the research team was able to induce high tensile forces in the plantar fascia similar to those produced in the patellar tendon during a single-leg squat.
All patients were evaluated at three, six and 12 months for pain and foot function. At the three month followup, the high-load group showed a significant reduction in pain compared to the stretching group. At six and 12 months, there was no difference between the two groups.
The authors of the study concluded that high-load training could reduce pain more quickly than traditional stretching. Since pain is the primary complaint in plantar fasciitis, the fastest route to pain relief offers hope for runners and athletes who want to get back to their game or sport in the shortest time possible.
Conventional treatment for plantar fasciitis often involves uncomfortable orthotics, steroid injections and even surgery, yet those methods often fail to resolve the underlying condition. The foot pain specialists at NYDNR understand that foot pain is often related to muscular imbalances and inefficient mechanics in other areas of the body. We use cutting edge technologies and innovative therapies to get to the source of your foot pain and restore optimal function, so you can get back in the game.
Rathleff, Michael Skovdal, et al. “High‐load strength training improves outcome in patients with plantar fasciitis: A randomized controlled trial with 12‐month follow‐up.” Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports 25.3 (2015): e292-e300.
Wearing, Scott C., et al. “The pathomechanics of plantar fasciitis.” Sports Medicine 36.7 (2006): 585-611.