Cryosurgery for the treatment of heel pain

Foot Ankle Int. 2009 Jun;30(6):500-5. doi: 10.3113/FAI.2009.0500.


Background: Although cryosurgery has been used to treat certain conditions, its efficacy for the treatment of heel pain has not been established. The objective of this retrospective case series was to investigate both short- and long-term changes in heel pain after cryosurgery.

Materials and methods: A sample of 137 feet (n = 137) was analyzed over a 24-month period after cryosurgery. The mean age was 56 years and the mean BMI was 33. Subjects in our analysis included only those who had failed 6 months of conservative care prior to cryosurgery. Pain was measured using a Numeric Pain Scale (NPS, zero to 10) at 3 weeks and 24 months. Statistics were calculated using SPSS version 12.0 (Chicago, IL).

Results: A total of 106 subjects had successful pain relief and 31 subjects failed to gain relief; the success and failure rates were 77.4% and 22.6%, respectively. Mean pain before cryosurgery was 7.6, after cryosurgery at three weeks was 1.6 (p < 0.0005), and after cryosurgery at 24 months was 1.1 (p < 0.0005).

Conclusion: In subjects who achieved successful pain relief, the significantly lower mean pain score at 3 weeks and 24 months, compared to the initial pain score prior to cryosurgery, suggests that cryosurgery was successful in resolving both short- and long-term heel pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Comorbidity
  • Cryosurgery*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / surgery*
  • Female
  • Heel*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / epidemiology
  • Pain Measurement