First, the plantar faciitis story starts off with “HeyDoc, I woke up this morning, got out of bed and had awful pain in my heel! What’s wrong with me?” Then, many times after a thorough physical exam and diagnostic studies the end of the story is a diagnosis of have plantar fasciitis. In short, this is a common complaint at many Podiatric Surgeons’ offices.
So, What is Plantar Faciitis?
We describe plantar fasciitis as pain in the heel region where the plantar fascia (ligament in the arch) inserts into the heel bone. Also, standing after periods of rest can exacerbate the pain. So, for those who are suffering from plantar faciitis, here are some facts:
- Approximately one million doctor visits per year in the United States is attributed to this condition! (1)
- There are various conservative and surgical treatment options for plantar fasciitis (2)
- But, some patients can have a resistant plantar fasciitis that doesn’t respond to common types of conservative therapy. (2)
Can Shock Wave Therapies Really Help?
For patients who want to possibly avoid surgical intervention, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is an excellent option. For example, multiple articles have reviewed ESWT; however, I will only mention a few of them in this blog. First, in an article by The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website, “Meta-analysis of high-energy extracorporeal shock wave therapy (HESWT) in recalcitrant plantar fasciitis,” it notes that HESWT is effective in the treatment of recalcitrant plantar fasciitis compared to placebo (2). They looked at persons who were over 18 years old with plantar fasciitis lasting over 6 months. These test subjects had to be unsuccessful with conservative treatment. In other words, the test subject had to be unsuccessful with at least one pharmacological therapy and two non pharmacological therapies. Also, their baseline pain score would be ≥5 cm on a 10-cm visual analogue scale.
The next article compares ESWT to placebo. This article is from The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. It notes that ESWT was both efficacious and safe for participants with chronic proximal plantar fasciitis that had been unresponsive to exhaustive conservative treatment (3).
Who To Call When Suffering from Plantar Faciitis
Our clinic is one of the few in Detroit that offer the extracorpeal shock wave therapy. This therapy have been proven to be most effective. So, if you have questions about shockwave please feel free to email me directly or set up an explorative consultation at Foot Healthcare Associates by calling 248-258-0001.
- Buchbinder R. Plantar fasciitis. N Engl J Med 2004; 350:2159–66.
- Zhiyun, L.; Tao, J. ; Zengwu, S. Meta-Analysis of High-Energy Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy in Recalcitrant Plantar Fasciitis. Swiss Medical Weekly, July 2013.
- Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy Versus Placebo for the Treatment of Chronic Proximal Plantar Fasciitis: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blinded, Multicenter Intervention Trial. Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. 2006; 45(4) 196-210.