Background: Stretching of the plantar fascia and triceps surae muscle is often employed in the conservative treatment of plantar fasciitis. However, there is no evidence if combining
foot and hip muscles strengthen would be benefit. The aim of the study was compared the effect of stretching with and without muscle strengthening of the foot alone or foot and hip on pain and
function in patients with plantar fasciitis.
Methods: Eighty-three patients with plantar fasciitis were allocated to one of three treatment options for an eight-week period: Foot Exercise Group (FEG e extrinsic and intrinsic
foot muscles), Foot and Hip Exercise Group (FHEG e abductor and lateral rotator muscles) and Stretching Alone Exercise Group (SAEG). Main measures: A visual analog scale for pain, the Foot and Ankle
Outcome Score and the Star Excursion Balance Test. All evaluations were performed before treatment and after the last treatment session.
Results: Improvements were found in all groups regarding the visual analog scale, the pain, activities of daily living, sports and recreation, quality of life (p < 0.001) and other
symptoms (p < 0.01) subscales of the Foot and Ankle Outcome Score as well as posterolateral movement, posteromedial movement and composite score (p < 0.001) on the Star Excursion Balance Test. No
time-group interactions were found for any of the variables (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: All three exercise protocols analyzed led to improvements at eight-week follow-up in pain, function and dynamic lower limb stability in patients with plantar fasciitis.