Comparison of a physiotherapy program versus dexamethasone injections for plantar fasciopathy in prolonged standing workers: a randomized clinical trial

Clin J Sport Med. 2014 May;24(3):211-7. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000021.


Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of a physiotherapy-based exercise program versus dexamethasone injection for chronic plantar fasciopathy in workers standing for prolonged periods of time.

Design: A parallel group nonblinded randomized controlled trial with 12-week follow-up.

Setting: An outpatient sports medicine clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Participants: Fifty-six workers required to stand for greater than 5 h/d with chronic plantar fasciopathy took part. Diagnosis from a physiotherapist must include signs of structural changes to the plantar fascia seen on ultrasound.

Interventions: The PHYSIO group included 7 physiotherapy-led exercises performed daily over a 12-week period. The INJECTION group received 1 palpation-guided dexamethasone injection followed by a daily routine of calf stretching.

Main outcome measures: The Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI) scores 12-weeks postintervention and ultrasound-based measures of ligament appearance.

Results: At follow-up, both groups reported significant improvements in FADI and visual analog scales for pain at work and with activities of daily living at 6 and 12 weeks compared with baseline scores (P < 0.001). There were no significant between-group differences. There were no significant changes to plantar fascia thickness reported at the 6- and 12-week follow-up point. Both the number of cases with focal anechoic areas and the size of these anechoic areas improved significantly in the PHYSIO (P = 0.003) and INJECTION (P < 0.001) groups at 12-week follow-up.

Conclusions: Workers standing for prolonged periods experienced the same short-term therapeutic effectiveness with a physiotherapy-led exercise program compared with an injection of corticosteroid with stretching.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / diagnostic imaging
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intralesional
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Occupational Diseases / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Posture
  • Ultrasonography


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dexamethasone