Plantar fasciitis can be a common cause of heel pain in adults. Physical therapists commonly treat this condition with manual therapy and stretching (among other things) while physicians usually administer steroid injections. This article compared the effectiveness of these two popular treatment methods (steroid injection vs joint mobilization and stretching exercise) in successfully treating this condition. Successful treatment was defined as decreased pain and improved function at 3wk, 6wk, 12wk and 12mo follow up.
Researchers found that both treatment groups demonstrated significant improvements in pain relief and functional outcomes at 3wk, 6wk, and 12wk follow ups compared to baseline BUT improvements at the 12wk and 1yr follow ups were only significant in the manual therapy group. The results in this study suggest that the joint mobilization and stretching group is a promising treatment method of achieving longer-term improvements in pain and function.