Shockwave Gives Excellent Results for Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis, a painful condition along the arch and heel of the foot is a common orthopedic disorder. The cause and cure remain unknown. In this study, shockwave treatment was used to treat the problem. Long-term results are reported.
Two groups of patients were included. Group 1 (shockwave group) had a single session of shockwaves to the heel where the plantar fascia attaches to the calcaneus (heel bone). Group 2 (control group) had conservative care with antiinflammatory drugs, orthotics, physical therapy, and/or a cortisone injection to the area.
The shockwave group had much better results based on reduced levels of pain and improved function. Almost 70 percent of the patients rated their results as "excellent" compared to zero in the control group. An excellent result was defined as no heel pain during daily activities.
There was no change in the size or shape of heel spurs in any of the patients. Shockwave patients improved within the first two weeks after treatment. Maximum results were seen by the end of two months. Two-thirds of the athletes were able to return to their full sports activities.
The authors conclude that although shockwave treatment didn't work for everyone, it did have a positive effect on many patients. When compared with other more conservative treatment shockwave therapy is safe and effective with good long-term results.
Ching-Jen Wang, MD, et al. Long-term Results of Extracorporeal Shockwave Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. April 2006. Vol. 34. No. 4. Pp. 592-596.