We report the case of a 40-year-old female patient presenting with resistant heel pain attributable to plantar fascia rupture. She was treated with ultrasound-guided platelet-rich plasma injection, and her pain was decreased. Additionally, ultrasound was useful for diagnosis, intervention and follow-up of the patient.
Background: Ultrasound-guided plantar fascia release offers the surgeon clear visualization of anatomy at the surgical site. This technique uses small arthroscopic dissecting instruments through a 0.5-cm incision, allowing the surgeon to avoid the larger and more tissue-disruptive incision that is traditionally used for plantar heel spur resection and plantar fascia releases.
Methods: Forty-one patients (46 feet) were selected for the study. The mean patient age was 47 years. Twenty-nine were considered obese with a body mass index greater than 30 kg/m2. Patients were functionally and subjectively evaluated 4 weeks after surgery using the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society Ankle and Hindfoot Rating Scale.
Results: Results from the study show a significant improvement (P = .05 confidence level) 4 weeks postoperatively for the 41 patients (46 feet), compared to their preoperative condition. The mean pretest score was 33.6 (range 10–52); this score improved to 88.0 (range 50–100), 4 weeks postoperatively. There were no postoperative infections or complications.
Conclusions: The ultrasound-guided plantar fascia release technique is a practical surgical procedure for the relief of chronic plantar fascia pain because the surgeon is able to clearly visualize the plantar fascia by ultrasound. In addition, there is minimal disruption to surrounding tissue because small instruments are passed through a small 0.5-cm incision. The traditional open method of heel spur surgery, in contrast, uses a larger skin incision of 3 to 5 cm, followed by larger instruments to dissect to the plantar fascia. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(3): 183–190, 2009)
Background: The proximal insertional disorder of the plantar fascia is plantar fasciosis. Although plantar fasciosis is frequently seen by different health-care providers, indistinctness of etiology and pathogenesis is still present. A variety of interventions are seen in clinical practice. Taping constructions are frequently used for the treatment of plantar fasciosis. However, a systematic review assessing the efficacy of this therapy modality is not available.
Methods: To assess the efficacy of a taping construction as an intervention or as part of an intervention in patients with plantar fasciosis on pain and disability, controlled trials were searched for in CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Cochrane CENTRAL, and PEDro using a specific search strategy. The Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale was used to judge methodological quality. Clinical relevance was assessed with five specific questions. A best-evidence synthesis consisting of five levels of evidence was applied for qualitative analysis.
Results: Five controlled trials met the inclusion criteria. Three trials with high methodological quality and of clinical relevance contributed to the best-evidence synthesis. The findings were strong evidence of pain improvement at 1-week follow-up, inconclusive results for change in level of disability in the short term, and indicative findings that the addition of taping on stretching exercises has a surplus value.
Conclusions: There is limited evidence that taping can reduce pain in the short term in patients with plantar fasciosis. The effect on disability is inconclusive. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(1): 41–51, 2010)
Background: Although there are studies showing that extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) and instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization methods are effective in chronic plantar heel pain (CPHP) treatment, there is a need for studies comparing these techniques. We compared the effectiveness of ESWT versus instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization using Graston Technique (GT) instruments in addition to stretching exercises (SEs) in CPHP.
Methods: Sixty-nine patients were randomly assigned to three groups: ESWT+SEs (group 1), GT+SEs (group 2), and SEs only (control group) (ratio, 1:1:1). The SEs, twice daily for 8 weeks, were standard for all. Group 1 received low-intensity ESWT; in group 2, GT was the selected method. Visual analog scales (for initial step and activity pain), the Foot Function Index (FFI), the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12), and the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia were used pretreatment, posttreatment, and at 8-week and 6-month follow-up.
Results: Visual analog scale and FFI scores improved posttreatment and during follow-up in all groups (P < .001). Although effect sizes were greater in groups 1 and 2 than in the control group in initial step pain posttreatment and at 8-week follow-up, group 2 had the highest effect size at 6 months. Mean SF-12 scores in groups 1 and 2 improved on the posttreatment assessment. Furthermore, group 2 showed significant improvements in FFI scores compared with the other groups at 6-month follow-up (F = 6.33; P = .003).
Conclusions: Although ESWT+SEs and GT+SEs seem to have similar effects on initial step pain posttreatment and at 8-week follow-up, GT+SEs was found most effective for improving functional status at 6 months in the management of CPHP.
Use of Primary Corticosteroid Injection in the Management of Plantar Fasciopathy
Is It Time to Challenge Existing Practice?
Plantar fasciopathy (PF) is characterized by degeneration of the fascia at the calcaneal enthesis. It is a common cause of foot pain, accounting for 90% of clinical presentations of heel pathology. In 2009–2010, 9.3 million working days were lost in England due to musculoskeletal disorders, with 2.4 million of those attributable to lower-limb disorders, averaging 16.3 lost working days per case. Numerous studies have attempted to establish the short- and long-term clinical efficacy of corticosteroid injections in the management of PF. Earlier studies have not informed clinical practice. As the research base has developed, evidence has emerged supporting clinical efficacy. With diverse opinions surrounding the etiology and efficacy debate, there does not seem to be a consensus of opinion on a common treatment pathway. For example, in England, the National Institute for Clinical Health and Excellence does not publish strategic guidance for clinical practice. Herein, we review and evaluate core literature that examines the clinical efficacy of corticosteroid injection as a treatment for PF. Outcome measures were wide ranging but largely yielded results supportive of the short- and long-term benefits of this modality. The analysis also looked to establish, where possible, “proof of concept.” This article provides evidence supporting the clinical efficacy of corticosteroid injections, in particular those guided by imaging technology. The evidence challenges existing orthodoxy, which marginalizes this treatment as a secondary option. This challenge is supported by recently revised guidelines published by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons advocating corticosteroid injection as a primary treatment option. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(5): 418–429, 2013)
Plantar heel pain syndrome, which has a multifactorial and widely disputed etiology, affects more than 2 million people annually. A survey was conducted of members of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine about their strategies for managing plantar heel pain syndrome, especially the role of injectable corticosteroids. The respondents tended to be experienced (10–24 years in practice) podiatric physicians with a concentration in sports medicine. They reported that for early-stage plantar heel pain syndrome they generally recommend avoidance of wearing flat shoes and walking barefoot (92%), use of over-the-counter arch supports and heel cushions (90%), regular stretching of the calf muscles (88%), strapping of the foot (75%), cryotherapy applied directly to the affected part of the foot (67%), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug therapy (60%). When these measures fail to relieve heel pain, most of the responding podiatric physicians recommend using custom orthotic devices (60%) and corticosteroid injections (60%) as intermediate therapy. Surgical plantar fasciotomy (88%), cast immobilization (77%), and extracorporeal shockwave therapy (69%) are generally recommended as late-stage therapy for resistant cases. A staged approach seems to yield the best results in treatment of this common condition. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(1): 68–74, 2007)
Letters to the Editor
Effectiveness of Extracorporeal Shockwave Treatment in 353 Patients with Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: Author’s Response
Previous studies have demonstrated that radio-frequency nerve ablation (RFNA) can be an effective treatment for plantar fasciosis. This study provides additional evidence in support of this treatment, with statistically significant data that demonstrate the success of this technique.
In this multicenter, randomized, prospective, double-blinded study with crossover, 17 patients were divided into two groups, with eight initially receiving RFNA treatment and nine initially receiving sham treatment. If no improvement was observed after 4 weeks, a crossover was offered. Results of the treatment were evaluated by the patient and by a blinded physician using a visual analog pain scale to rate first-step pain, average pain, and peak pain in the heel region.
We observed a statistically significant improvement in the symptoms of plantar fasciosis in patients actively treated with RFNA and no significant improvement in the sham-treated group. More important, those treated with sham subsequently demonstrated statistically significant improvement after subsequent RFNA treatment.
Using a prospective, randomized study with sham treatment and crossover, this study demonstrates the efficacy of RFNA for the treatment of plantar fasciosis. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(1): 8–15, 2013)