An Evaluation of Research Evidence for Selected Physical Therapy Interventions for Plantar Fasciitis

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To evaluate the strength of research evidence for selected interventions in the management of plantar fasciitis and compare the evidence with current clinical guidelines. A literature search of PubMed and CINAHL from 1995 to 2005 was conducted using articles that involve interventions that physical therapists would administer directly, are English-only, peer reviewed, prospective and retrospective studies, and whose interventions are supported at least two randomized controlled trials. Grouped by treatment category, these articles were evaluated using the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Development Medicine classification system. Each category was assessed using the Modified Canadian Task Force grading format, and compared with current clinical guidelines. Twenty-seven articles were reviewed: 6 for night splints, 9 for orthotics/inserts, 9 for extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), and 3 for stretching. Night splints and stretching received a C; orthotics/inserts received a B, and ESWY received an A. Comparisons between the results and the Brigham and Women's Clinical Guideline for Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Disorders revealed similar recommendations, except for ESWT. Evidence exists for night splints, orthoses, extracorporeal shock wave, and stretching as interventions for plantar fasciitis. ESWT received the highest grade, although existing guidelines have not mentioned this as an intervention.


  • Journal of Physical Therapy Science  

    Journal of Physical Therapy Science 19(1), 41-56, 2007-06-30 

    The Society of Physical Therapy Science

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