Background: Plantar fasciitis affects nearly 1 million people annually in the United States. Traditional nonoperative management is successful in about 90% of patients, usually within 10 months. Chronic plantar fasciitis develops in about 10% of patients and is a difficult clinical problem to treat. A newly emerging technology, low-level laser therapy (LLLT), has demonstrated promising results for the treatment of acute and chronic pain.
Methods: Thirty patients were administered LLLT and completed 12 months of follow-up. Patients were treated twice a week for 3 weeks for a total of 6 treatments and were evaluated at baseline, 2 weeks post procedure, and 6 and 12 months post procedure. Patients completed the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and Foot Function Index (FFI) at study follow-up periods.
Results: Patients demonstrated a mean improvement in heel pain VAS from 67.8 out of 100 at baseline to 6.9 out of 100 at the 12-month follow-up period. Total FFI score improved from a mean of 106.2 at baseline to 32.3 at 12 months post procedure.
Conclusion: Although further studies are warranted, this study shows that LLLT is a promising treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis.
Level of evidence: Level IV, case series.
Keywords: heel pain; laser therapy; plantar fasciitis.