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Ultrasound-guided Steroid Injections for Plantar Fasciitis
The nature of plantar fasciitis is very painful and most people suffering from this type of foot pain are looking for a permanent cure. A recent study out of Australia sought to uncover a suitable treatment for this painful foot condition. As the authors of the study stated, “ . . . findings of existing clinical trials provide some support for the use of corticosteroid injection in the short term management of plantar fasciitis. However, a recent systematic review concluded that the effectiveness of this treatment has not been sufficiently established,indicating that further research is required.”1
So the researchers decided to take the steroid treatment a bit further by using ultrasound guidance. Their study was randomized and blinded involving two parallel groups, one of which was a placebo. 82 people were included and were put into one of two groups: a saline injection control group and a dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection group (the experimental group). The researchers measured pain and plantar fascia thickness.
The results were successful in the short-term only. There was pain relief for four weeks and decreased inflammation for three months. At weeks eight and 12, there was no significant pain reduction, showing that the steroid injection provided temporary pain relief at best. The authors concluded that their “findings show that a single ultrasound guided dexamethasone injection is a safe and effective short term treatment for plantar fasciitis, providing better pain relief than placebo at four weeks” and that “clinicians offering this treatment should also note that significant pain relief did not continue beyond four weeks.”
Alternative treatment for plantar fasciitis
As stated above, plantar fasciitis is a painful condition in which a person suffering from it is in search of a permanent cure. Four weeks of pain relief, in our opinion, is not a suitable treatment. The problem with the standard corticosteroid treatment for plantar fasciitis is that it treats the symptom of inflammation rather than the root cause of weakened or degenerated plantar fascia. Thus, the best way to treat this degenerated tissue is by Prolotherapy to the plantar fascia and the surrounding attachments. The result is regenerated and stronger tissue that is pain free and permanently cured.
1. McMillan AM, Landorf KB, Gilheany MF, Bird AR, Morrow AD, Menz HB. Ultrasound guided corticosteroid injection for plantar fasciitis: randomized controlled trial. BMJ May 2012.