Objective: To investigate the effects of physical therapy interventions using strengthening and stretching exercise programs on pain and temporospatial gait parameters in patients with plantar fasciitis (PF).
Methods: Eighty-four patients with PF participated in the study and were randomly assigned to the strengthening or stretching exercise groups. All patients received 8 physical therapy interventions two times per week in the first 4 weeks and performed daily strengthening or stretching exercises three times per day. After 4 weeks, they continued the assigned exercise programs every day for 8 weeks. Pain visual analogue scale (VAS) scores at the worst and in the morning and temporospatial gait parameters were evaluated at the baseline, intermediate of the intervention, end of the intervention, and the first and second month follow-up.
Results: There were significant effects of the time on the worst pain, morning pain, cadence, stride time, stride length, total double support, and gait speed, but there was no effect on step width. In addition, the main effect of the group and the interaction effects of the time and the group were not found in any parameters. For intra-group comparisons, there were significant differences in worst pain, morning pain, cadence, and stride time among the assessment times in both groups. For inter-group comparisons, there were no significant differences in all parameters.
Conclusion: Both strengthening and stretching exercise programs significantly reduced pain and improved gait in patients with PF.
Keywords: Foot diseases; Gait; Muscle stretching exercises; Plantar fasciitis; Resistance training.