Use of low-frequency electrical stimulation for the treatment of plantar fasciitis

J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. Nov-Dec 2009;99(6):481-8. doi: 10.7547/0990481.

Abstract

Background: Recent research has discussed the use of low-frequency electrical stimulation to increase blood flow by eliciting muscular contraction in soft tissues. This randomized clinical trial examined the efficacy of low-frequency electrical stimulation combined with stretching exercises and foot orthoses in individuals diagnosed as having plantar fasciitis for less than 6 months.

Methods: Twenty-six participants aged 18 to 65 years diagnosed as having plantar fasciitis were randomly assigned to two treatment groups: a control group receiving only stretching and orthoses and a treatment group receiving low-frequency electrical stimulation in addition to stretching and orthoses. To assess treatment response, a visual analog scale was used to determine first-step morning pain, and changes in daily activity levels were monitored by using a validated outcome measure. All of the participants were assessed before starting treatment, after 4 weeks of treatment, and 3 months after the conclusion of treatment.

Results: Participants in the control and experimental groups demonstrated pain reduction and improvements in functional activity levels after 4 weeks and 3 months.

Conclusions: Regardless of whether low-frequency electrical stimulation was used as an intervention, the use of plantar fascia-specific stretching and prefabricated foot orthoses provided short-term (3-month) pain relief and improvement in functional activity levels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult