Background: Plantar fasciitis is a common condition routinely managed by podiatrists in the community and is widely treated conservatively. Two commonly used treatments for plantar fasciitis are customized functional foot orthoses and corticosteroid injections. While common to clinical practice, the evidence base underpinning these treatment strategies is unknown. Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to assess the effectiveness and safety of customized functional foot orthoses and corticosteroid injections in the treatment of plantar fasciitis.
Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted. Experimental studies, in English, from 1998 to 2010 were accepted for inclusion in this review. The PEDro quality assessment tool and the National Health and Medical Research Council's hierarchy of evidence were used to assess the quality of the included studies.
Results: Six randomized controlled trials which met the selection criteria were included in this review. Four reported on customized functional foot orthoses and 2 on corticosteroid injections. Current best available evidence highlights that both customized functional foot orthoses and corticosteroid injections can lead to a decrease in pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Additionally, customized functional foot orthoses may also provide an additional benefit in terms of increased functional ability in patients with plantar fasciitis. Corticosteroid injections may have side effects, especially pain (from the injection).
Conclusion: Both customized functional foot orthoses and corticosteroid injections can lead to reduction in pain associated with plantar fasciitis. While customized functional foot orthoses may increase the functional outcomes in patients with plantar fasciitis, corticosteroid injections may have side effects (especially pain as a result of the injection), which may limit its acceptability.
Keywords: corticosteroid injection; cortisone injection; heel pain; orthoses; orthotics; plantar fasciitis.