Background: Minimally invasive non-surgical techniques have been widely used worldwide to treat musculoskeletal injuries. Of these techniques, injectable pharmaceutical agents are the most commonly employed treatments, with corticosteroids being the most widely used drugs. The aim of this article is to review current scientific evidence as well as the effectiveness of minimally invasive non-surgical techniques, either alone or combined, for the treatment of plantar fasciitis.
Methods: This systematic review was conducted from April 2016 until March 2017, in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement and was registered with PROSPERO. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of adult patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis were included as well as intervention studies, with a minimal sample size of 20 subjects per study (10 per group). Assessment of study eligibility was developed by three reviewers independently in an unblinded standardized manner. The physiotherapy evidence database (PEDro) scale was used to analyse the methodological quality of studies.
Results: Twenty-nine full-text articles on minimally invasive techniques were reviewed. These articles focused on corticosteroid injections, platelet-rich plasma, Botox, dextrose injections, as well as comparative studies with dry needling vs sham needling.
Conclusion: The treatment of plantar fasciitis has dramatically improved in the past decade with minimally invasive techniques becoming increasingly available. Research findings have shown that the long term effects of minimally invasive (non-surgical) treatments such as shock wave therapy, botulinum toxin type-A injections, platelet-rich plasma injections and intratissue percutaneous electrolysis dry needling show similar and sometimes better results when compared to only corticosteroid injections. The latter have been the mainstay of treatment for many years despite their associated side effects both locally and systemically. To date, there is no definitive treatment guideline for plantar fasciitis, however the findings of this literature review may help inform practitioners and clinicians who use invasive methods for the treatment of plantar fasciitis regarding the levels of evidence for the different treatment modalities available.
Keywords: Dry needling; Injections; Invasive; Pain; Physical therapy modalities; Plantar fasciitis; Plantar heel pain; Therapeutics.
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