Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Bilateral chronic proximal plantar fasciopathy: treatment with electrohydraulic orthotripsy.

BACKGROUND: Patients presenting for treatment of chronic plantar fasciopathy often have bilateral involvement. When various nonoperative treatments fail, subsequent intervention may be problematic, especially since bilateral surgery (bilateral fascial release) may not be realistic because of variable, frequently restrictive postoperative weightbearing limitations.

METHODS: Twenty-three patients (46 heels) were treated with electrohydraulic high-energy orthotripsy to the plantar entheses of both feet while under the same anesthesia (conscious sedation). Following orthotripsy, all patients immediately were fully weightbearing and resumed normal activities of daily living and work, usually within 24 hours. Progressive return to athletic activities was allowed. Patients were assessed by three outcome parameters: (1) pain measured objectively by a dolorimeter combined with the patient's subjective evaluation of the level of pain; (2) pain after 5 minutes of walking upon arising; and (3) pain with daily activities. All pain measurements were done by the visual analog scale.

RESULTS: Patients initially experienced varied pain relief responses. This included earlier pain relief in one heel compared to the other, as well as better pain relief in one heel than the other at the 6- and 12-week evaluations, but with much less variance at the 1-year evaluation. By 3 months following orthotripsy, 28 heels (61%) had good or excellent results. These results were maintained or improved at 1 year. In 18 heels (39%), the outcome was fair or poor. Nineteen heels received a second orthotripsy application; one patient requested a second orthotripsy treatment of only one heel, while nine patients requested a second treatment of both heels. The outcome showed further improvement following the second application of orthotripsy. At 1 year after one or two orthotripsy applications, 19 patients (38 heels) were satisfied with the results in both heels (83%), while four patients (eight heels) still had an unsatisfactory outcome (17%).

CONCLUSION: Electrohydraulic high-energy orthotripsy is a reasonable nonincisional method for treating patients with bilateral chronic proximal plantar fasciopathy under a single anesthetic without the prolonged nonweightbearing status often recommended for patients following unilateral open or endoscopic fascial release.

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