Plantar Fasciitis Treatments Comparison, Benefit Over Risk Assessment – A Picture Is Emerging

Plantar Fasciitis treatment data analysis graph

In spite of sample bias, and the limited dataset (253 individual treatment reports), a clear picture is emerging. Analysis by FitOldDog.

As there is no consensus on the cause of plantar fasciitis, and we had to fix mine twice (pain!!), we initiated our research program, using the only source of available data, people’s stories on the Internet.

Most of our research data come from Facebook, especially Monica’s Site, Decoding Plantar Fasciitis, in addition to Plantar Fasciitis Support Help, Plantar Fasciitis Help And Support, and Plantar Fasciitis.

Decoding plantar fasciitis Facebook page

This is one of my favorite Facebook pages, run by Monica, whose heart seems to be in the right place. Click image for link to her site, Decoding Plantar Fasciitis.

At a sample size of 253 cases, a clear pattern of treatment effectiveness is emerging, at least for this data type, as shown in the graph, from best to worst, as we head towards our 1,000 sample dataset goal (a real survey would be better!). The results show,

1) Changing shoes, to Crocs and so-forth, is at the top of the list for effectiveness.

2) Cortisone shots are at the bottom for effectiveness and safety – see what a cortisone shot did to Matt’s foot, by introducing MRSA.

3) There is a clear Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Roadmap emerging, though it is critical to determine where you are in the progression of this disease, and have good medical advice as you proceed.

FitOldDog's human disease progression for plantar fasciitis

Click image for detailed explanation of our postulated progression of plantar fasciitis.

The equation developed for this analysis (for which FitOldDog takes full responsibility – don’t blame my co-investigator, Rebecca, if you don’t like it) was simple and preliminary, with an estimate of Benefit/Risk being calculated as follows:

Benefit Factor = (‘ratio successful treatments’/’total  number of treatments’ of that type) times the ‘adjustment factor for report number’ (sample size) to adjust for sample size bias in the reliability of the estimate.

Risk Factor = suspected danger from 1 (truly minimal) to 5 (you should never do that – I [FitOldDog] gave the highest risk score, of 3 out of 5, to surgery and cortisone shots based on my pathology training and case histories).

Adjustment factor for report number bias, only one report value = .1;  2-6 reports = .3 ; 6+ reports = .6 (I based this selection on my memory of T-test sample size effects).

fix plantar fasciitis

Spring is coming, as evidenced by my onions coming up, protected by Marigolds – FIX YOUR PLANTAR FASCIITIS AND GET OUT THERE ON THE TRAILS. Photo by FitOldDog in his vegetable garden.

Treatment Benefit/Risk Value For Graph = (Benefit Factor * Adjustment factor for report number bias)/Risk Factor.

Unavoidable sample bias is discussed in a recent blog post.

It is clear that you should:

A. Avoid surgery if possible, and medically advised, which depends of your stage in the progression.

B. Never agree to a cortisone shot into your heel, for which the pain relief is only temporary, at best, if at all.

Finally, here are the numbers, if you want to check the calculations, which were carried out with an OpenOffice spreadsheet, and please consider signing up for the Plantar Fasciitis Research Newsletter.

Hoping to fix plantar fasciitis and wishing you happy trails.

FitOldDog's plantar fasciitis datapoints

Click to enlarge

 

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.