Saxena A, Hong BK, Yun AS, Maffulli N, Gerdesmeyer L., J Foot Ankle Surg. 56(5):950-953. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2017.06.020., 2017 Sep 01
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy/radial soundwave therapy has been predominantly used for chronic or recalcitrant plantar fasciitis with strong scientific evidence of reliable outcomes. Most of the studies included patients with plantar fasciitis with symptoms >6 months in duration.
Only 2 known studies have investigated acute plantar fasciitis, which is <6 weeks in duration. They both found suboptimal results for the use of extracorporeal shock wave therapy. To the best of our knowledge, no studies have investigated radial soundwave therapy for the subacute stage or early stage of plantar fasciitis.
Data were prospectively collected from 28 eligible patients who underwent radial soundwave therapy (RSWT) during a 9-month period in 2014. Of the 28 subjects, 14 were enrolled in the "early group" with a symptom duration of <3 months and 14 in the "standard/control" group with a symptom duration of >6 months. The pretreatment and posttreatment visual analog scale scores, Roles-Maudlsey scores, and activity level were recorded and compared. The early implementation of RSWT yielded comparable outcomes when compared with the standard group.
RSWT is a valid treatment modality that can be implemented soon after the initial treatment options or first-phase treatment options have failed. Early treatment is more likely to allow for maintenance of patients' activity level. Also, waiting 6 months to treat plantar fasciitis with RSWT results in delays and inferior results. Early treatment is better for active and athletic patients.