Extracorporeal shock wave therapy in runners with a symptomatic heel spur

Biagio Moretti, Raffaele Garofalo, Vittorio Patella, Gian Lorenzo Sisti, Margherita Corrado, Elyazid Mouhsine
Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy 2006, 14 (10): 1029-32
The aim of this paper is to assess the benefit to treat plantar fasciitis with low-dose energy extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) and the efficacy of such treatment to abate the painful symptoms allowing a rapid return to the running activity. Our study included 54 running athletes treated for plantar fasciitis associated with a heel spur who received four sessions (once weekly) of low-dose ESWT, and followed prospectively on average 45 days, 6 and 24 months after their last session. The clinical results were excellent in 59% of cases, good in 12%, satisfactory in 21% and distinctly unsatisfactory in 8%. No patient was observed a significant modification of the heel spur at the follow-up X-ray. The ultrasound examination at 24 months showed a disappearance of the inflammation signs in 61% of cases. A strong correlation between ultrasound improvement and clinical results were found. Low-energy ESWT seems to be a good mean to treat plantar fasciitis in runners with a 71% of good or excellent results and a persistent improvement lasting 24 months. A randomized multicentric study seems to be necessary to define the type of energy that should be used in the future to treat plantar fasciitis, in particular in the athletic patients, to allow a faster return to sports activities.

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