PF is one of the most common foot and ankle problems. People with PF experience mild to severe pain that interferes moderately with activities of daily living (ADL). Due to chronic pain that interferes with ADL, people with PF often use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and/or acetaminophen. These medications alleviate pain but cannot eliminate it. Additionally, with chronic use, these medications can cause well-known adverse side effects. The purposes of this study were to investigate the effect of Korean Hand Therapy (KHT) in (1) treating the pain experienced in patients with plantar fasciitis (PF), (2) evaluating its impact on functionality, and (3) assessing participants' self-adherence to treatment. A pre-post mixed methods pilot study was conducted with 28 participants. Baseline measures included a demographic questionnaire, height and weight, a 10-point pain scale, the foot function index (FFI), and measurement of the plantar fascia via ultrasound. As a group, participants were taught about KHT and how to self-administer it. Participants then self-administered KHT for four weeks. Three weekly electronic surveys were sent asking participants about their pain and use of KHT. After four weeks, participants returned for final data collection, including a focus group. Baseline measures, except the demographic questionnaire and height and weight, were repeated. Thickness of PF was not correlated with pain at baseline (r = -0.14, p = 0.47). Compared to baseline, pain was significantly reduced after the initial KHT treatment on the first visit (4.875 vs 2.625, p < 0.00) and at the 4-week follow up (4.875 vs 2.528, p < 0.05). On average for all four weeks, participants reported 5.48 (SD 1.50) days of self-guided KHT per week. PF thickness was not significantly reduced at the follow up session at 4 weeks (t =1.16, p = 0.26). FFI scores were significantly improved between baseline and four weeks: Pain (t = 3.80, p < 0.00), Activity Limitation (t = 2.64, p = 0.02), and Disability (t = 4.74, p < 0.00) and overall FFI (t = 4.83, p < 0.00). Findings suggest KHT may reduce pain and increase functionality for people who experience PF. While the sample was small, KHT is low-risk, low-cost, and easily self-administered. Further investigation is needed on the long-term effects of KHT and its ability to generally alleviate all types of pain.



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Korean Hand Therapy, hand therapy, plantar fasciitis, acupressure, pain relief, complementary alternative modality



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Nursing Commons