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Mechanical Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

A Prospective Study

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  • 1 Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Podiatry, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Temple, TX. Mailing address: Scott & White Clinic–College Station, 1600 University Dr E, College Station, TX 77840.
  • | 2 Submitted during second-year residency, Scott & White Hospital, Temple, TX.
  • | 3 Associate Professor of Surgery and Residency Program Director, Division of Podiatry, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Temple, TX.
  • | 4 Private practice, Tyler, TX.
  • | 5 Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Podiatry, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Temple, TX.
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A randomized, prospective study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of three individual mechanical modalities in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Two hundred fifty-five subjects were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: custom-made orthoses, over-the-counter arch supports, or tension night splints. Subjects were treated for 3 months, with follow-up visits at 2, 6, and 12 weeks. No statistically significant difference was noted among treatment groups with respect to final outcomes based on first-step pain or pain felt during the day. However, there was a statistically significant difference among the three groups with respect to early patient withdrawal from the study due to continued severe pain, noncompliance, or inability to tolerate the device. Patient compliance was greatest with the use of custom-made orthoses. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(2): 55-62, 2001)