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)
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)
Background: Chronic plantar heel pain (CPHP) is common and is thought to have a detrimental impact on health-related quality of life. However, no study has used normative data or a control data set for comparison of scores. Therefore, we describe the impact of CPHP on foot-specific and general health-related quality of life by comparing CPHP subjects with controls.
Methods: Foot Health Status Questionnaire scores were compared in 80 subjects with CPHP and 80 sex- and age-matched controls without CPHP.
Results: The CPHP group demonstrated significantly poorer foot-specific quality of life, as evidenced by lower scores on the foot pain, foot function, footwear, and general foot health domains of the Foot Health Status Questionnaire. The group also demonstrated significantly poorer general health-related quality of life, with lower scores on the physical activity, social capacity, and vigor domains. In multivariate analysis, CPHP remained significantly and independently associated with Foot Health Status Questionnaire scores after adjustment for differences in body mass index. Age, sex, body mass index, and whether symptoms were unilateral or bilateral had no association with the degree of impairment in people with CPHP.
Conclusion: Chronic plantar heel pain has a significant negative impact on foot-specific and general health-related quality of life. The degree of negative impact does not seem to be associated with age, sex, or body mass index. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(4): 283–289, 2008)
Heel spur is a chronic inflammatory condition causing pain and other typical symptoms. Therapeutic recommendations include the use of several drug or orthotic/physical therapies, performed alone or in combination. Surgery is usually reserved for refractory conditions. Radiotherapy has been shown to ensure good clinical outcomes in this clinical setting. A systematic review was performed to describe the feasibility and effectiveness of radiotherapy in the treatment of heel spur, evaluating its role in alleviating pain and consequently ensuring a better quality of life. A case report of 45-year-old patient treated for refractary right hindfoot pain was reported. A single fraction of 6 Gy RT was delivered with symptomatic complete response at 2 months observed. A systematic database search was conducted according to PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses) guidelines. The systematic review included studies describing heel spur treatment and providing complete information about radiotherapy. Fifteen articles published between 1996 and 2020 were reviewed. Study characteristic analysis resulted in seven prospective randomized studies and eight retrospective studies. Radiotherapy of painful heel spur seems to be safe and effective, with high response rates even at low doses and with an overall favorable toxicity profile. Predictive parameters and modern tailored treatment should be investigated with further studies.