Foot Ankle Int. 2004 May;25(5):290-7.

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for the treatment of plantar fasciitis.

Theodore GH, Buch M, Amendola A, Bachmann C, Fleming LL, Zingas C.
Foot and Ankle Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
One hundred fifty patients were enrolled in a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, prospective, double-blind study to assess the clinical safety and effectiveness of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) using the Dornier Epos Ultra for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The Active Group was treated with electromagnetically generated shocks using ultrasound guidance during a single therapy session. The Control Group received a sham treatment under similar clinical conditions. The groups were demographically similar with respect to age, height, and weight. The average duration of symptoms was nearly 2 years in both groups. All patients were evaluated by the visual analog scale for pain, American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society scores, Roles and Maudsley Score, SF-12 health status questionnaire, and physical examination. The Active Group reported 56% success at 3 months and 94% success at 12 months posttreatment. The Control Group reported 47% success at 3 months posttreatment. Twelve-month data were not collected for the Control Group as they were unblinded at 3 months and offered treatment. ESWT represents a safe treatment option for chronic proximal plantar fasciitis.

Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2005 Feb;125(1):6-9. Epub 2003 Oct 3.

Ultrasonographic evaluation at 6-month follow-up of plantar fasciitis after extracorporeal shock wave therapy.

Hammer DS, Adam F, Kreutz A, Rupp S, Kohn D, Seil R.
Orthopaedic University Hospital , 66421, Homburg/Saar, Germany.
INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) on the ultrasonographic appearance of chronically painful, proximal plantar fasciitis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-two patients with a unilateral proximal plantar fasciitis were prospectively enrolled after unsuccessful conservative treatment lasting 6 months. The contralateral plantar fascia was used as the control. ESWT (3×3000 shock waves/session of 0.2 mJ/mm2) was performed at weekly intervals. The thickness of the plantar fascia was measured ultrasonographically about 2 cm distal of the medial calcaneal tuberosity. Pain estimation on a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the comfortable walking time were recorded. No local anaesthesia was applied. Follow-up was done at 6, 12 and 24 weeks. RESULTS: Before ESWT, the plantar fasciitis side was ultrasonographically significantly thicker than the control side (p<0.05), whereas 6 months after ESWT, the thickness of the fascia was no longer significantly different. The decrease in thickness of the plantar fasciitis side was significant (p<0.05). Pain during activities of daily living decreased by 79% according to the VAS, and the comfortable walking time increased, both significantly (p<0.01). In patients with little pain (VAS<30), the thickness of the plantar fasciitis side was significantly less (p<0.01) compared with patients who still suffered more pain (VAS>30). CONCLUSION: After ESWT, the thickness of the plantar fascia in patients with plantar fasciitis decreased, pain and walking time improved (all significantly).

Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2003 Apr;20(2):323-34.

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for plantar fasciitis.

Perez M, Weiner R, Gilley JC.
Clintonville Foot and Ankle Group, Inc., 3695 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43214, USA.
Shock wave therapy is quickly becoming a mainstay treatment for chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis, and many more applications for this therapy may exist. Many advances have been made in regard to this modality of treatment in just a few decades since it was first investigated in the 1950s. Much research has been conducted, revealing the physics and physiologic effect of shock wave therapy. Devices are now approved that produce shock waves for medicinal purposes by one of the three primary methods of shock wave generation. Studies and research are actively being reported and published that demonstrate shock wave therapy success rates comparable to those found in surgical intervention but without the risks inherent in surgery. In conclusion, ESWT has proved to be a viable treatment option for the intervention of chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis.

Foot Ankle Int 2002 Apr;23(4):309-13

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) in patients with chronic proximal plantar fasciitis.

Hammer DS, Rupp S, Kreutz A, Pape D, Kohn D, Seil R.
Orthopaedic University Hospital, Homburg/Saar, Germany.
The aim of this study was to compare the effect of extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) in patients with chronically painful proximal plantar fasciitis with a conventional conservative treatment consisting of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, heel cup, orthoses and/or shoe modifications, local steroid injections and electrotherapy. Forty-seven patients (49 feet) with a previously unsuccessful conservative treatment of at least six months were randomized to two groups. Treatment of Group 1 (25 heels) started immediately with three sessions of ESWT (3000 shockwaves/session of 0.2 mJ/mm2) at weekly intervals. In the patients of Group 2 (24 heels) treatment was continued for 12 weeks. After this period they were treated using the protocol of Group 1. No significant difference of pain and walking time after further non-ESWT treatment (three months) was seen. Six months after ESWT pain decreased by 64% to 88% on the visual analog scale (VAS) and the comfortable walking time had increased significantly in both groups.

J Foot Ankle Surg 2002 May-Jun;41(3):166-72

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis: indications, protocol, intermediate results, and a comparison of results to fasciotomy.

Weil LS Jr, Roukis TS, Weil LS, Borrelli AH.
Weil Foot & Ankle Institute, Des Plaines, IL 60016, USA.
A review of the history, mechanism of action, and application of extracorporeal shock wave therapy for chronic plantar fasciitis is presented. The results of 40 feet treated with this modality are reviewed after a mean follow-up time of 8.4 months. All procedures were performed under intravenous sedation and local infiltrative anesthesia. An electrohydraulic shock wave with a mean of 20.6 kV combined with a mean of 2,506 pulses was used. The results of a similar demographic class of patients having undergone a percutaneous plantar fasciotomy at our institution were compared to the results of this cohort of shock wave patients. Eighty-two percent of the patients treated with extracorporeal shock wave therapy were successfully treated as compared to 83% with a percutaneous plantar fasciotomy. The mean score on the 11-point visual analog scale for satisfied patients was 7.9 preoperatively and 2.95 within 7 days postoperatively. After 3 months, the mean visual analog score was 4.2 or 50% of the preoperative value after a mean of 8.4 months following treatment. Eighty-three percent of the patients treated stated that shock wave therapy improved their symptoms. There were no complications encountered in any patient in this study. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is an effective treatment, which significantly reduces the symptoms associated with chronic plantar fasciitis and compares favorably to the results achieved with surgical intervention in the form of a percutaneous plantar fasciotomy.

Foot Ankle Int 2002 Apr;23(4):301-8

Shockwave therapy for chronic proximal plantar fasciitis: a meta-analysis.

Ogden JA, Alvarez RG, Marlow M.
Skeletal Educational Association Atlanta, GA 30305, USA.
PURPOSE: Utilizing meta-analysis, the authors have reviewed the available literature to assess the biologic and therapeutic effects of shockwaves on patients with chronic plantar fasciitis and the credibility of these published studies. METHODS: Meta-analysis is a systematic method for statistical analysis that combines data from various independent studies, allowing the assessment of potential benefits of various treatments when conclusions based on individual studies may be difficult to evaluate. We hypothesized that extracorporeal shockwave therapy provided a reasonable nonoperative therapeutic alternative to surgical intervention in the treatment of chronic proximal plantar fasciitis. RESULTS: Eight of 20 published studies fulfilled our type A to C criteria for acceptable studies of sufficient duration (one year or more after treatment). These eight studies involved 840 patients, with success rates of as much as 88%. The other 12 studies had methodological variables or lack of appropriate follow-up data that would limit their validity, although the success rates were comparable to the A to C studies. CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis shows that the directed application of shockwaves to the enthesis of the plantar fascia at the inferior calcaneus is a safe and effective nonsurgical method for treating chronic, recalcitrant heel pain syndrome that has been refractory to other commonly used nonoperative therapies. The results suggest that this therapeutic procedure should be considered before any surgical intervention, and may be preferable prior to cortisone injection, which has a recognized risk of rupture of the plantar fascia and a frequent recurrence of symptoms

Foot Ankle Int 2002 Mar;23(3):204-7

Shockwave therapy for patients with plantar fasciitis: a one-year follow-up study.

Wang CJ, Chen HS, Huang TW.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
The effect of shockwave therapy was investigated in 79 patients (85 heels) with plantar fasciitis with one-year follow-up. There were 59 women and 20 men with an average age of 47 (range, 15-75) years. Each patient was treated with 1000 impulses of shockwave at 14 kV to the affected heel. A 100-point scoring system was used for evaluation including 70 points for pain and 30 points for function. The intensity of pain was based on a visual analogue scale from 0 to 10. The overall results were 75.3% complaint-free, 18.8% significantly better, 5.9% slightly better and none unchanged or worse. The effect of shockwave therapy seemed cumulative and was time-dependent. The recurrence rate was 5%. There were no device-related problems, systemic or local complications. Shockwave therapy is a safe and effective modality in the treatment of patients with plantar fasciitis.