Plantar fasciopathy treated with dynamic splinting: a randomized controlled trial

J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. May-Jun 2010;100(3):161-5. doi: 10.7547/1000161.


Background: Plantar fasciopathy (or plantar fasciitis) is considered to be one of the most common foot abnormalities, affecting up to 2 million Americans each year, and the chief complaint is acute heel pain. Therapeutic protocols for this condition have included stretching exercises, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and foot orthoses, but a single modality has not been found to be universally effective. We sought to determine the efficacy of stretching with dynamic splinting for the treatment of plantar fasciitis.

Methods: Sixty patients (76 feet) were enrolled in this 12-week study from four different clinics across the United States. Patients were randomly categorized into experimental and control groups. All of the patients received nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, orthoses, and corticosteroid injections if needed. Thirty experimental patients also received dynamic splinting for nightly wear to obtain a low-load, prolonged-duration stretch with dynamic tension. The dependent variable was change from baseline in Plantar Fasciopathy Pain/Disability Scale score, and the independent variable was group (experimental versus control).

Results: Two-sample t tests were calculated, and there was a significant difference in the mean change scores of experimental versus control patients (-33 versus -2 points, P < .0001).

Conclusions: Dynamic splinting was effective for reducing the pain of plantar fasciopathy, and this modality should be included in the standard of care for treating plantar fasciopathy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / physiopathology
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedic Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Orthotic Devices
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Splints*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Glucocorticoids