Group Studies Define What Works For Plantar Fasciitis

As you go around [seemingly] aimlessly looking for that ultimate cure to your plantar fasciitis woes, you probably wonder what works best to get rid of my heel pain? If you’ve seen a physician, you’ve probably been recommended – and have even implemented – one of many different treatment options.

So why aren’t you seeing the results? If your feet still hurt it can be one of several different things.

  • You haven’t fully stuck to a protocol – or haven’t discovered the right one for your issue
  • You’re wearing the wrong orthotics for your foot type
  • You haven’t curbed your athletic activity
  • You have a difficult case of plantar fasciitis
  • Unknown (there is no known cure that works for 100% of people)


Plantar Fasciitis sucks, we know that. But at this point you’d probably settle for a simple reduction in pain… 30% even. Something that at least let’s you get on with the routine activities in your life (if not at least showing some progress in improving symptoms).

Some Results from the Studies…


Luckily, we have health care providers that give you professional advice on what works. That advice is usually handed down after years of learning, as well as having years of practical group studies to refer upon based on actual plantar fasciitis sufferers. Below you can find some of the actual studies that some of these podiatrists follow.


Stretching Protocol

8 Week Trial, 2 year follow-up (66 patients completed the study)

Goal: To evaluate the long term outcomes of a plantar fasciitis stretching protocol in patients with chronic plantar fasciitis.

Results: Marked improvement for those in the plantar fasciitis stretching protocol with an especially high rate of improvement for those with the Achilles program. 92% reported total satisfaction with minor reservations, while 77% reported no limitations in recreational activities.

Note: No information provided to specify individual protocols outside of stretching, such as wearing orthotics and night splints, or reduced exercise or time being on their feet.

Here is a similar study including 1. the use of orthotics, 2. the use of certain NSAIDs and 3. patients provided educational information on plantar fasciitis in general.

Splint and Arch Support Protocol

6 Week Trial (90 Patients, 30 per sample group)

Goal: To determine the effect of a night splint alone (Group 1), arch support alone (Group 2), or both used together (Group 3).

Results: At the end of the trial, there were no significant differences between Groups 1 and 2, but they did show a significant difference between groups 1 and 3, and 2 and 3. It was concluded that a night splint and arch support together may be more effective in the treatment of plantar fasciitis than either a night splint or arch support alone. The use of both may speed up recovery time by accelerating the healing process.

Splint and Other Conservative Treatment Protocol

8 Week Trial, 12 – 54 week follow up (44 Patients)

Goal: To evaluate and determine the effect of a night splint for the treatment of plantar fasciitis in conjunction with a classic conservative treatment protocol.

Results: Patients that kept the night splint protocol exhibited significantly higher improvements in both AOFAS and VAS scores (used to monitor progress and pain levels in patients, respectively).

Note: The study did not specify the meaning of “classic conservative treatments,” which could mean anything from a stretching routine to wearing additional orthotic inserts during the day. Also, patients without previous treatments for plantar fasciitis had obtained significant relief of heel pain in the short term with the use of night splints and conservative methods (but had no significant effect on prevention of recurrences after the 2-year follow-up).

Acupuncture Treatment

2 Week Treatment, 5 Times Per Week (53 Patients, 28 in Control Group)

Goal: To determine the efficacy and specificity of acupuncture on plantar fasciitis patients. The treatment group received needling at acupoints PC7 (purported to have specific effect on heel pain) and the control group at LI4. The test measured morning pain, activity and other pain after 12 month post-treatment.

Result: There were significant differences in reduction in pain socres for the treatment Group (PC7). It was determined that acupuncture can provide relief and that, specifically, PC7 is a relatively specific acupoint for heel pain.

Note: No adverse events were observed in either group.

Therapeutic Ultrasound Treatment

8 Treatments (19 Patients)

Goal: To evaluate the therapeutic effect from Ultrasound in the treatment of plantar heel pain and quantify the placebo effect. Patients experiencing plantar fasciitis were randomly delivered Ultrasound or Sham Ultrasound treatments.

Result: After 8 treatments, both showed a similar reduction in pain. This trial determined that therapeutic ultrasound, at the specified dosage for this test, for 8 minutes of treatment, is no more effective than the placebo in the treatment of plantar fasciitis.

Lastly, here you can find a collection of randomized, controlled trials using conservative treatments and a detailed description of each.


What, then, does all this mean for you? Well, you can take it for what it’s worth. There is no cure for plantar fasciitis, but there are plenty of success stories (much of which start with the incorporation of conservative treatment protocols and improve over time).

Use these group studies to get a look into what has worked for people before you. These are documented results. For more information on your specific condition, talk to your physician. Otherwise, you can find me on my social networks at the top right of the page – ask questions and I’ll get in touch with people that can get you answers. Don’t forget to Like this post on the left if you found it useful so that others can share it, as well.