The symptomatic and functional effects of manual physical therapy on plantar heel pain: a systematic review

John J. Mischke, Dhinu J. Jayaseelan, Josiah D. Sault, Alicia J. Emerson Kavchak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: Plantar heel pain is common and can be severely disabling. Unfortunately, a gap in the literature exists regarding the optimal intervention for this painful condition. Consequently, a systematic review of the current literature regarding manual therapy for the treatment of plantar heel pain was performed. Methods: A computer-assisted literature search for randomized controlled trials in MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, CINAHL, and Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine Source, was concluded on 7 January 2014. After identification of titles, three independent reviewers selected abstracts and then full-text articles for review. Results: Eight articles were selected for the final review and underwent PEDro scale assessment for quality. Heterogeneity of the articles did not allow for quantitative analysis. Only two studies scored ≥7/10 on the PEDro scale and included joint, soft tissue, and neural mobilization techniques. These two studies showed statistically greater symptomatic and functional outcomes in the manual therapy group. Discussion: This review suggests that manual therapy is effective in the treatment of plantar heel pain; however, further research is needed to validate these findings given the preponderance of low quality studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Foot pain
  • Heel pain
  • Manual therapy
  • Plantar fasciitis


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