Extracorporeal shock wave treatment for chronic plantar fasciitis (heel pain)

C Ho
Issues in Emerging Health Technologies 2007, (96 (part 1)): 1-4
(1) Electrohydraulic, electromagnetic, or piezoelectric devices are used to translate energy into acoustic waves during extracorporeal shock wave treatment (ESWT) for chronic plantar fasciitis (or heel pain). These waves may help to accelerate the healing process via an unknown mechanism. (2) ESWT, which is performed as an outpatient procedure, is intended to alleviate the pain due to chronic plantar fasciitis. (3) Results from randomized controlled trials have been conflicting. Six trials reported data that favour ESWT over placebo or conservative treatment for efficacy outcomes, while three trials showed no significant difference between the ESWT group and the placebo group. (4) The lack of convergent findings from randomized trials of ESWT for chronic plantar fasciitis suggests uncertainty about its effectiveness. The evidence reviewed in this bulletin does not support the use of this technology for this condition.

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