Self-dosed and pre-determined progressive heavy-slow resistance training have similar effects in people with plantar fasciopathy: a randomised trial

J Physiother. 2019 Jul;65(3):144-151. doi: 10.1016/j.jphys.2019.05.011. Epub 2019 Jun 13.


Question: For people with plantar fasciopathy, is a 12-week self-dosed heavy-slow resistance training program more beneficial than a 12-week pre-determined heavy-slow resistance training program?

Design: A randomised trial with concealed allocation, partial blinding, and intention-to-treat analysis.

Participants: Seventy people with plantar fasciopathy confirmed on ultrasonography.

Intervention: Both groups performed a repeated heel raise exercise in standing for 12 weeks. Participants in the experimental group were self-dosed (ie, they performed as many sets as possible with as heavy a load as possible, but no heavier than 8 repetition maximum). The exercise regimen for the control group was pre-determined (ie, it followed a standardised progressive protocol).

Outcome measures: The primary outcome was the Foot Health Status Questionnaire pain domain. Secondary outcomes included: a 7-point Likert scale of Global Rating of Change dichotomised to 'improved' or 'not improved'; Patient Acceptable Symptom State defined as when participants felt no further need for treatment; and number of training sessions performed.

Results: There was no significant between-group difference in the improvement of Foot Health Status Questionnaire pain after 12 weeks (adjusted MD -6.9 points, 95% CI -15.5 to 1.7). According to the Global Rating of Change, 24 of 33 in the experimental group and 20 of 32 in the control group were improved (RR = 1.16, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.64). Only four participants achieved Patient Acceptable Symptom State: three of 35 in the experimental group and one of 35 in the control group. No significant between-group difference was found in the number of training sessions that were performed (MD -2 sessions, 95% CI -8 to 3).

Conclusion: Self-dosed and pre-determined heavy-slow resistance exercise programs are associated with similar effects on plantar fasciopathy pain and other outcomes over 12 weeks. Advising people with plantar fasciopathy to self-dose their slow-heavy resistance training regimen did not substantially increase the achieved dose compared with a pre-determined regimen. These regimens are not sufficient to achieve acceptable symptom state in the majority of people with plantar fasciopathy.

Registration: ClinicalTrials.govNCT03304353.

Keywords: Exercise; Plantar fasciopathy; Rehabilitation; Strengthening; Tendinopathy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Associated data