FitOldDog’s Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Effectiveness Research Survey Results 101

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Effectiveness Research

Started with Facebook Data Gleaning

Followed by a targeted survey!

PF Correlation Graph 253 101 300 1500

The x and y axes are benefit/risk (%). There was a reasonable correlation between these two very different data sets. This indicates that your first choice of therapy would best include trying different shoes and undertaking massage with rollers. Rather than surgery or cortisone shots, with or without FitOldDog’s particular risk estimate bias!

First let me tell you what this plantar fasciitis treatment effectiveness research is all about!

This is very much a work in progress!

plantar fasciitis treatment effectiveness

These results were adjusted for my estimate of risk associated with treatment – high for surgery, low for changing your shoes.

Having developed plantar fasciitis about six years ago, I tried many treatments. Even a boot (for heaven’s sake), and finally it was fixed it, with a roller. During this process, it became clear that there are dozens of different treatments advertised.

Visits to health professionals didn’t do any good. This work led to our first book.

Then plantar fasciitis reared it’s ugly foot again! This case was more complicated, and finally was found to be related to a sub-luxated pelvis, from a bike wreck. So, as it lasted a while, there was a chance to study the condition, first hand. It became clear that it’s not due to inflammation, in the early stages, at least. It’s a progressive disease. All of this is in blog posts on this site; easy to find under plantar fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis treatment effectiveness: FitOldDog's interactive plantar fasciitis treatment map

Click image for link to the Interactive Map.

Lots of people are making lots of money, out of the average 2,000,000 plantar fasciitis sufferers in the USA, at any one time. I learned a lot making an interactive map of all these plantar fasciitis treatments (Costs $200/yr to keep it up, so it may go down soon).

There must be a common variable, underlying all of these treatments. I finally concluded that it was nociception.

There is some published research. Little of it makes any sense, and there is very little of it. As a researcher, I decided that I would tackle the problem, myself. For fun! If research isn’t fun for you, you won’t get far, because it’s grueling!

plantar fasciitis treatment effective. Summary table from survey.

Here is a summary table. If you want the full data set, you can download it as a zip file from my public dropbox folder. Data are still coming in, and I plan to keep chasing it. I will also talk about individual comments, after our family vacation. Back on June 24th.

You can’t do research without data!

Facebook provided the data. Messy, but data all the same. This involved wading through hundreds of personal struggles with plantar fasciitis, publicly available on Facebook pages.

The results were published, and a fellow researcher informed me that it was junk science. This was very encouraging, as most new findings generate such responses. In fact, during 40 years of my research career, our most exciting findings were either ignored, or pissed someone off. Isn’t that interesting! I thought so, anyway!

But the data from Facebook were messy. Try, try and try again, with a SurveyMonkey survey, this time.

You can fill your data in at this link! If you so desire!

The survey is much better. The plantar fasciitis sufferers fill in their own data, not just random bits and pieces extracted from people’s generally frustrating stories. Furthermore, it wasn’t necessary to laboriously extract the findings. They were generated as a readymade table, suitable for statistical analysis.

One big weakness of this study – it’s just me. No statistics department. No quality assurance. Just one obsessed pathologist.

What are the conclusions from this work?

Change your shoes or roll your calves, before considering surgery or painful and dangerous cortisone injections.

Survey data is preferable to Facebook narratives, as it is less subjective with respect to the investigator.

More research is needed to solve this problem, so 2,000,000 people can escape an endless litany of expensive, and generally ineffective, treatments.

Survey data continues to arrive (111 right now). These findings will be published when sample size reaches a preferred prime number (257, probably).

This is very much a work in progress.

Wishing you happy feet and happy trails.


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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.