Outcomes of high-load strength training in plantar fasciitis
The histopathology of plantar fasciitis (PF), even though poorly understood, presents a lot of similarities with tendinopathy; degenerative changes, deterioration of collagen fibers, increased secretion of ground substance proteins, focal areas of fibroblast proliferation, increased vascularity et cetera.
The aim of this paper was to compare high-load training – a commonly employed approach for tendon pathologies- to specific plantar fascia stretching-usually employed in clinical practice. 48 patients with ultrasonography-verified PF were randomized to a stretch group and a strength group. The stretch group had to perform plantar-specific stretching daily whereas the strength group performed the high load training every second day. Gel shoe inserts were applied to both groups.
The results point towards superiority of the high load strength training protocol in reducing pain and improving foot function after 3 months compared to specific plantar fascia stretching. This study provides more ground for the similarities between PF and tendinopathy and adds new knowledge on the positive effect of a new, simple, progressive exercise protocol for a debilitating condition such as PF.
> From: Rathleff et al., Scand J Med Sci Sports (2014) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Click here for the Pubmed summary.