Elastosonographic evaluation after extracorporeal shockwave treatment in plantar fasciopathy

Med Ultrason. 2019 Nov 24;21(4):399-404. doi: 10.11152/mu-1976.


Aim: To assess the ultrasound features in patients with plantar fasciopathy before and after extracorporeal shock waves therapy (ESWT), using conventional grey-scale imaging and both strain (SE) and shear wave (SWE) elastosonographic evaluation.

Material and method: Consecutive patients of both sexes attending our outpatient's clinic, with diagnosis of unilateral plantar fasciopathy, were enrolled. Patients were treated with 3 sessions of ESWT once a week, and underwent clinical and ultrasound evaluation at baseline and at one and three months after treatment. Roles and Maudsley score (RM), visual analog scale (VAS) and 17-Italian Foot Function Index (FFI), were used to assess pain and functional improvement.

Results: Twenty patients (11 female and 9 male) were enrolled in the study. Contralateral asymptomatic healthy plantar fascia was used as a control. At baseline, SWE velocity (SWEv) showed statistically significant difference between affected 3.8 (1.5; 5.1) m/s and healthy side 4.7 (4.07; 7.04) m/s, (p=0.006); no significant difference was found for strain ratio values (p=0.656). SWEv post hoc test results showed a significant difference from baseline 3.8 (1.5-5.1) m/s and three month 5.23 (4.55-6.74) m/s follow up visit (p=0.003). Significant statistical negative correlation was found between the SWEv and VAS (p=0.001) and positive correlation between the SWEv and FFI (p=0.012).

Conclusion: SWE was effective in assessing plantar fascia elasticity and its alteration in fasciopathy. Furthermore, on the basis of the correlation with pain and functional scales, this technique appears to be a useful additional technique to conventional ultrasound for monitoring the efficacy of treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques*
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / diagnosis
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Treatment Outcome