Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for plantar fasciitis: randomised controlled multicentre trial

BMJ. 2003 Jul 12;327(7406):75. doi: 10.1136/bmj.327.7406.75.


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of extracorporeal shock wave therapy compared with placebo in the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis.

Design: Randomised, blinded, multicentre trial with parallel group design.

Setting: Nine hospitals and one outpatient clinic in Germany.

Participants: 272 patients with chronic plantar fasciitis recalcitrant to conservative therapy for at least six months: 135 patients were allocated extracorporeal shock wave therapy and 137 were allocated placebo.

Main outcome measures: Primary end point was the success rate 12 weeks after intervention based on the Roles and Maudsley score. Secondary end points encompassed subjective pain ratings and walking ability up to a year after the last intervention.

Results: The primary end point could be assessed in 94% (n=256) of patients. The success rate 12 weeks after intervention was 34% (n=43) in the extracorporeal shock wave therapy group and 30% (n=39) in the placebo group (95% confidence interval - 8.0% to 15.1%). No difference was found in the secondary end points. Few side effects were reported.

Conclusions: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is ineffective in the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lithotripsy / adverse effects
  • Lithotripsy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged