Background: The effectiveness of different energy levels used in extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) have been investigated in previous studies, but controversy remains regarding which energy levels should be used in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy of different energy levels used in ESWT in the treatment of plantar fasciitis through comparisons of plantar fascia thickness and pressure distribution.
Methods: Between July 2020 and September 2020, a total of 51 patients (71 feet) with plantar fasciitis were randomized into three treatment groups using the sealed envelope method. Group 1 (n = 25) received low energy density (0.09 mJ/mm2 ), Group 2 (n = 25) received medium energy density (0.18 mJ/mm2), and Group 3 (n = 21) received high energy density (0.38 mJ/mm2). All groups received three sessions of ESWT with a frequency of 2,000 shocks/min at one week intervals. The patients were evaluated before and after treatment using a visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, the Foot Function Index (FFI), and plantar fascia thickness measured by ultrasonography, and plantar pressure distribution.
Results: The posttreatment VAS and FFI scores were determined to be statistically significantly lower than the pretreatment values in all three groups (p<0.001). There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of the pre and post treatment values of VAS, FFI scores, plantar fascia thickness and pressure distribution (p>0.05). No statistically significant difference was found between the groups in terms of percentage changes in all the outcome parameters (p>0.05).
Conclusions: The results of the study suggest that neither low, medium, or high levels of ESWT were superior to one another in terms of pain, foot functions, fascia thickness and pressure distribution in the treatment of plantar fasciitis.