The objective of this studt was to compare the effectiveness of 2 different conservative management approaches in the treatment of plantar heel pain. Patients with a primary report of plantar heel pain underwent a standard evaluation and completed a number of patient self-report questionnaires, including the Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS), the Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (FAAM), and the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS). Patients were randomly assigned to be treated with either an electrophysical agents and exercise (EPAX) or a manual physical therapy and exercise (MTEX) approach. Outcomes of interest were captured at baseline and at 4-week and 6-month follow-ups. Sixty subjects and were randomized into the EPAX or MTEX group. The overall group-by-time interaction for the ANOVA was statistically significant for the LEFS, FAAM, and pain. Between-group differences favored the MTEX group at both 4-week and 6-month follow-ups.
The results of this study provide evidence that MTEX is a superior management approach over an EPAX approach in the management of individuals with plantar heel pain at both the short- and long-term follow-ups. Future studies should examine the contribution of the different components of the exercise and manual physical therapy programs
Cleland JA, Abbott JH, Kidd MO, Stockwell S, Cheney S, Gerrard DF, Flynn TW. Manual physical therapy and exercise versus electrophysical agents and exercise in the management of plantar heel pain: a multicenter randomized clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2009 Aug;39(8):573-85