Original Research| Volume 56, ISSUE 4, P762-767, July 2017

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Clinical Outcomes of Laser Therapy, Ultrasound Therapy, and Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial


      We determined and compared the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy (LLLT), therapeutic ultrasound (US) therapy, and extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We performed a randomized, prospective, comparative clinical study. A total of 60 patients with a diagnosis of chronic plantar fasciitis were divided randomly into 3 treatment groups: group 1 underwent 15 sessions of LLLT (8 J/cm2; 830 nm); group 2 underwent 15 sessions of continuous US (1 mHz; 2 W/cm2); and group 3 underwent 3 sessions of ESWT (2000 shocks). All patients were assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS), heel tenderness index (HTI), American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) ankle-hindfoot scale, Roles–Maudsley score, and MRI before and 1 month after treatment. The primary efficacy success criterion was the percentage of decrease in heel pain of >60% from baseline at 1 month after treatment for ≥2 of the 3 heel pain (VAS) measurements. Significant improvement was measured using the mean VAS, AOFAS scale, and HTI scores for all 3 groups. The thickness of the plantar fascia had decreased significantly on MRI in all 3 groups. The treatment success rate was 70.6% in the LLLT group, 65% in the ESWT group, and 23.5% in the US group. LLLT and ESWT proved significantly superior to US therapy using the primary efficacy criterion (p = .006 and p = .012, respectively), with no significant difference between the LLLT and ESWT groups (p > .05). The treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis with LLLT and ESWT resulted in similar outcomes and both were more successful than US therapy in pain improvement and functional outcomes.

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      Linked Article

      • Not All Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapies Are Equal: A Comment on Ulusoy et al. J Foot Ankle Surg 2017;56:762-767
        The Journal of Foot and Ankle SurgeryVol. 57Issue 3
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          I read with interest the article by Ulusoy et al (1) titled “Magnetic resonance imaging and clinical outcomes of laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, and extracorporeal shock wave therapy for treatment of plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial.” The authors concluded that their study showed that treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis with low-level laser therapy and extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) resulted in similar outcomes. In my view, this is a scientifically improper generalization of the interpretation of their data.
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