Live from SIR 2015: Interventional radiology treatment relieves chronic plantar fasciitis

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Patients suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis now have a new treatment option against this debilitating foot ailment, according to research presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s annual scientific meeting. 

Researchers used ultrasound imaging and specific ultrasonic energy to penetrate, emulsify and remove diseased fasciitis tissue. Permanently removing damaged, pain-generating tissue allowed room for healthy tissue to regrow in its place, restoring normal function.

“Plantar fasciitis is so ubiquitous and such a difficult condition to live with, and yet patients have been limited in their treatment options,” said Rahul Razdan, one of the study’s researchers and an interventional radiologist at Advanced Medical Imaging, Lincoln, USA. “While standard treatments, such as pain medication and physical therapy, can offer some relief, there have been no permanent answers. Consequently, safe and effective definitive treatments are highly desirable,” he noted.

In the study, 100 patients were treated, beginning in August 2013. The patients presented with chronic, refractory plantar fasciopathy, and all patients had previously failed to respond to medications, activity modification and arch supports. Before treatment, patients reported how their foot pain affected their ability to manage everyday life through the Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI). FADI scores were collected from the patients at two weeks, six weeks and six months post treatment.

Two weeks after treatment, more than 90% of patients reported improvement in symptoms, and these improvements were maintained at six months. Patients also reported being highly satisfied with the treatment and had no treatment-related complications.

“It is important for patients suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis to know that they have treatment options,” added Razdan. “We have patients who are in so much pain they cannot even play with their kids or take their dog for a walk. This ultrasonic treatment can give patients their lives back and let them enjoy their lives. We are excited to see significant results from this treatment,” he said.

Chronic plantar fasciitis is the most common debilitating foot complaint, affecting approximately 10% of the population and accounting for more than one million office visits annually, said Razdan.