Effectiveness of Mechanical Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis: A Systematic Review

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot injuries. Several mechanical treatment options, including shoe inserts, ankle-foot orthoses, tape, and shoes are used to relieve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Objectives: To investigate the effectiveness of mechanical treatment in the management of plantar fasciitis. Evidence Acquisition: The review was reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis statement. A systematic search was performed in PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, and Cochrane up to March 8, 2018. Two independent reviewers screened eligible articles and assessed risk of bias using the Cochrane Collaboration’s risk of bias tool. Evidence Synthesis: A total of 43 articles were included in the study, evaluating 2837 patients. Comparisons were made between no treatment and treatment with insoles, tape, ankle-foot orthoses including night splints and shoes. Tape, ankle-foot orthoses, and shoes were also compared with insoles. Follow-up ranged from 3 to 5 days to 12 months. Cointerventions were present in 26 studies. Conclusions: Mechanical treatment can be beneficial in relieving symptoms related to plantar fasciitis. Contoured full-length insoles are more effective in relieving symptoms related to plantar fasciitis than heel cups. Combining night splints or rocker shoes with insoles enhances improvement in pain relief and function compared with rocker shoes, night splints, or insoles alone. Taping is an effective short-term treatment. Future studies should aim to improve methodological quality using blinding, allocation concealment, avoid cointerventions, and use biomechanical measures of treatment effects.

Schuitema and Greve are with the Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands. Greve, Postema, Dekker, and Hijmans are with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands. Postema is also with the Roessingh Center for Rehabilitation, Enschede, The Netherlands. Dekker is also with the Center for Sports Medicine, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Greve (c.greve@umcg.nl) is corresponding author.
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