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J Physiother. 2019 Jul;65(3):144-151. doi: 10.1016/j.jphys.2019.05.011. Epub 2019 Jun 13.

Self-dosed and pre-determined progressive heavy-slow resistance training have similar effects in people with plantar fasciopathy: a randomised trial.

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Center for General Practice at Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. Electronic address:
Center for General Practice at Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.
Sports Injury Rehabilitation and Prevention for Health Research Unit, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Center for General Practice at Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark; Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Aalborg University Hospital, Brisbane, Australia; SMI, Department of Health Science and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University, Denmark.



For people with plantar fasciopathy, is a 12-week self-dosed heavy-slow resistance training program more beneficial than a 12-week pre-determined heavy-slow resistance training program?


A randomised trial with concealed allocation, partial blinding, and intention-to-treat analysis.


Seventy people with plantar fasciopathy confirmed on ultrasonography.


Both groups performed a repeated heel raise exercise in standing for 12 weeks. Participants in the experimental group were self-dosed (ie, they performed as many sets as possible with as heavy a load as possible, but no heavier than 8 repetition maximum). The exercise regimen for the control group was pre-determined (ie, it followed a standardised progressive protocol).


The primary outcome was the Foot Health Status Questionnaire pain domain. Secondary outcomes included: a 7-point Likert scale of Global Rating of Change dichotomised to 'improved' or 'not improved'; Patient Acceptable Symptom State defined as when participants felt no further need for treatment; and number of training sessions performed.


There was no significant between-group difference in the improvement of Foot Health Status Questionnaire pain after 12 weeks (adjusted MD -6.9 points, 95% CI -15.5 to 1.7). According to the Global Rating of Change, 24 of 33 in the experimental group and 20 of 32 in the control group were improved (RR = 1.16, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.64). Only four participants achieved Patient Acceptable Symptom State: three of 35 in the experimental group and one of 35 in the control group. No significant between-group difference was found in the number of training sessions that were performed (MD -2 sessions, 95% CI -8 to 3).


Self-dosed and pre-determined heavy-slow resistance exercise programs are associated with similar effects on plantar fasciopathy pain and other outcomes over 12 weeks. Advising people with plantar fasciopathy to self-dose their slow-heavy resistance training regimen did not substantially increase the achieved dose compared with a pre-determined regimen. These regimens are not sufficient to achieve acceptable symptom state in the majority of people with plantar fasciopathy.




Exercise; Plantar fasciopathy; Rehabilitation; Strengthening; Tendinopathy

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