Static progressive stretch brace as a treatment of pain and functional limitations associated with plantar fasciitis: a pilot study

Foot Ankle Spec. 2010 Jun;3(3):117-24. doi: 10.1177/1938640010365183. Epub 2010 Apr 2.


Plantar fasciitis is a common and hard-to-treat disorder of the foot. Numerous studies have compared various stretching exercises, but the use of a day-wear static progressive stretch brace has not been studied. A randomized, single-blinded trial was conducted to compare the effectiveness of a static progressive stretch brace to standard care of active stretching exercises. Thirteen subjects (12 women and 1 man; mean age, 42 +/- 9.0 years) with plantar fasciitis participated in this study between January 2004 and March 2007. Subjects were randomized to either an exercise group (static stretch group, n = 8) or a brace group (static progressive stretch group, n = 9) for an 8-week treatment period and 1-month follow up. Both groups received basic off-the-shelf foot orthoses. Data were available for 7 subjects in the exercise group and 6 in the brace group. Pain and functional limitations were evaluated with the Foot Functional Index pain subscale, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society Ankle-Hindfoot Scale, and great toe extension motion. Overall pain and morning pain improved in both groups as compared with baseline measures (repeated-measures analysis of variance, P = .04 and P = .02, respectively). Functional rating also improved in both groups (repeated-measures analysis of variance, P = .005). No changes were found in either group with great toe extension range of motion. In addition, there was no significant group difference or interaction with time and group with any measures. Both interventions (static, exercise, and brace stretching) were beneficial for treating pain and functional limitations, suggesting that static progressive stretch brace is an effective alternative option to static stretching exercises for people with plantar fasciitis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Braces*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Single-Blind Method