Researchers have found that treating patients with acute plantar fasciitis with stretching exercise provides better relief than shockwave therapy.

In a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, researchers found that patients responded to stretching exercises and in fact most of them could resume their normal activity.

Around 102 patients with acute plantar fasciitis pain were part of the study. Doctors in the US treat more than two million patients with plantar fasciitis every year, making it the most common cause of pain the bottom of the heal. Most of the patients can find relief doing simple treatment methods.

“The earlier you understand how stretching fits in, and the earlier you learn how frequently to perform the simple plantar stretch, the less likely you will require a more invasive treatment method,” said John Furia, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania and one of the study authors.

“Shockwave therapy has been shown to be a very effective treatment for patients with chronic plantar fasciitis (pain for more than six to eight weeks), however acute cases are probably best treated with more simple measures,” he added.

Patients are advised by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) to use seated position for doing these stretching exercises.

“I am a firm believer in this type of stretch and nearly 80 percent of my patients have shown improvement in just eight weeks of stretching therapy,” said Judy Baumhauer, orthopedic surgeon and president-elect of the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS), who was not part of the study.