Preliminary Report on the Role of Dry Needling Versus Corticosteroid Injection, an Effective Treatment Method for Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2019 Mar;58(2):301-305. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2018.08.058.


Plantar fasciopathy (PF) is a common disorder for which there is no consensus regarding an optimal treatment strategy. We hypothesized that dry needling would be as effective as the use of corticosteroid injections for treating PF while avoiding the potential adverse effects of corticosteroids. After approval was received from the institutional review board, patients diagnosed with PF were prescribed a 3-week nonoperative treatment regimen. In addition to using oral and topical antiinflammatory drugs, patients engaged in plantar fascia and gastrocnemius stretching exercises. A study population of 98 patients was planned. An appointment was made in the third week of first-line treatment. Patients whose pain did not abate and who required further treatment were included in the study. One week later, we randomly divided patients into 2 groups using an online random number generator. Group 1 underwent dry needling, and group 2 underwent corticosteroid injection. All dry needling was performed by a single physiotherapist, and all corticosteroid injections were performed by the second author. Patients were assessed in the third week and sixth month by a single investigator using the foot function index. In terms of foot function index scores, dry needling caused significant decrease in the third week and also in the sixth month. However, although corticosteroid use led to a significant decrease at the third week, it lost efficacy in the sixth month (p < .001). In conclusion, dry needling seems to be a reliable procedure for treating PF, with better outcomes than corticosteroid injection.

Keywords: corticosteroid; dry needling; injection; plantar fasciitis; plantar fasciopathy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / diagnosis
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intralesional
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Turkey


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones