CLINICAL TRIAL
COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Steroid injection for heel pain: evidence of short-term effectiveness. A randomized controlled trial.

Rheumatology 1999 October
OBJECTIVES: To compare the effectiveness of a steroid injection (25 mg/ml prednisolone acetate) with a local anaesthetic control in the treatment of heel pain and to determine any advantage for patients' comfort of using a posterior tibial nerve block to anesthetize the heel prior to infiltration.

METHODS: A double-blind randomized controlled trial using a 2 x 2 design in a hospital-based rheumatology clinic. Subjects comprised 106 patients with heel pain referred by general practitioners and other rheumatologists working in Camden and Islington Health Authority.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: heel pain reduction at 1, 3 and 6 months, and patient comfort at the time of injection. All outcomes were measured using a 10 cm visual analogue scale.

RESULTS: A statistically significant reduction in pain was detected at 1 month (P=0.02) in favour of steroid injection, but thereafter no differences could be detected. Patient comfort was not significantly affected by anaesthesia of the heel (P=0.5).

CONCLUSIONS: A steroid injection can provide relief from heel pain in the short term. There appears to be no increase in patient comfort from anaesthetizing the heel prior to infiltration.

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