Enhancement of the Effectiveness of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy with Topical Corticosteroid in Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Control Clinical Trial

Adv Biomed Res. 2018 Apr 24;7:62. doi: 10.4103/abr.abr_40_17. eCollection 2018.


Background: Chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis is a disabling condition. We presumed if shock wave could increase the permeability of skin and facilitate penetration of topical corticosteroid through the skin; the combinational therapeutic effect would be stronger than using shock wave alone. The study purpose was to utilize the synergistic effect of shock wave and topical corticosteroid in treatment of plantar fasciitis.

Materials and methods: Patients in both groups (n = 40) received four sessions of shock wave with the same protocol at weekly intervals. At 30 min before each session, we used an occlusive dressing of topical clobetasol for the intervention group and Vaseline oil for the control group. Pain severity was assessed with visual analog scale (VAS) and modified Roles and Maudsley score (RMS) at baseline and 1 month and 3 months after intervention. Plantar fascia (PF) thickness was measured with ultrasonography at baseline and 3 months after intervention.

Results: One month after intervention, VAS morning showed significant improvement in intervention group (P = 0.006) and RMS showed better improvement in intervention group (P = 0.026). There was no significant difference between the two groups after 3 months in RMS or VAS score. PF thickness was decreased significantly in both groups, but it was not significant between the two groups (P = 0.292).

Conclusions: This combinational therapy yielded earlier pain reduction and functional improvement than using shock wave alone; topical corticosteroid could enhance the effectiveness of shockwave in short-term in the treatment of recalcitrant plantar fasciitis.

Keywords: Extracorporeal shock wave; plantar fasciitis; transdermal drug delivery.