A retrospective study of standing gastrocnemius-soleus stretching versus night splinting in the treatment of plantar fasciitis

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2002 Jul-Aug;41(4):221-7. doi: 10.1016/s1067-2516(02)80018-7.


Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, yet the conservative treatment of plantar fasciitis is not standardized. This open retrospective study compared the effects of standing gastrocnemius-soleus stretching to a prefabricated night splint. One hundred and sixty patients with unilateral or bilateral plantar fasciitis were evaluated and treated according to the standard regimen in addition to either night splints or stretching. Seventy-one patients performed standing stretching of the gastrocnemius-soleus complex. Eighty-nine patients utilized the prefabricated night splint without standing stretching. The night splint treatment group had a significantly shorter recovery time (p < .001), fewer follow-up visits to recovery (p < .001), and fewer total additional interventions (p = .034) compared to the stretching group. Absolute body weight, body mass index, and age did not have a statistically significant effect on the time to recovery or additional interventions needed. The duration of pain prior to this treatment was a predictive factor and was associated with increased time to recovery and increased number of treatment interventions. Its was concluded that early treatment in a standardized four-tiered treatment approach, including the night splint without standing stretching of the gastrocnemius-soleus complex, speeds time to recovery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Fasciitis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Foot / physiopathology*
  • Foot Diseases / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Splints*