Is Platelet-rich Plasma Injection more Effective than Steroid Injection in the Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis in Achieving Long-term Relief?

Malays Orthop J. 2019 Nov;13(3):8-14. doi: 10.5704/MOJ.1911.002.


Introduction: Plantar fasciitis is characterised by pain in the heel, which is aggravated on weight bearing after prolonged rest. Many modalities of treatment are commonly used in the management of plantar fasciitis including steroid injection. Many studies show that steroid injection provides pain relief in the short term but not long lasting. Recent reports show autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection promotes healing, resulting in better pain relief in the short as well as long term. The present study was undertaken to compare the effects of local injection of platelet-rich plasma and Corticosteroid in the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis. Materials and methods: Patients with the clinical diagnosis of chronic plantar fasciitis (heel pain of more than six weeks) after failed conservative treatment and plantar fascia thickness more than 4mm were included in the study. Patients with previous surgery for plantar fasciitis, active bilateral plantar fasciitis, vascular insufficiency or neuropathy related to heel pain, hypothyroidism and diabetes mellitus were excluded from the study. In this prospective double-blind study, 60 patients who fulfilled the criteria were divided randomly into two groups. Patients in Group A received PRP injection and those in Group B received steroid injection. Patients were assessed with visual analog scale (VAS) and American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) score. Assessment was done before injection, at six weeks, three months and six months follow-up after injection. Plantar fascia thickness was assessed before the intervention and six months after treatment using sonography. Results: Mean VAS in Group A decreased from 7.14 before injection to 1.41 after injection and in Group B decreased from 7.21 before injection to 1.93 after injection, at final follow-up. Mean AOFAS score in Group A improved from 54 to 90.03 and in Group B from 55.63 to 74.67 at six months' follow-up. The improvements observed in VAS and AOFAS were statistically significant. At the end of six months' follow-up, plantar fascia thickness had reduced in both groups (5.78mm to 3.35mm in Group A and 5.6 to 3.75 in Group B) and the difference was statistically significant. Conclusion: Local injection of platelet-rich plasma is an effective treatment option for chronic plantar fasciitis when compared with steroid injection with long lasting beneficial effect.

Keywords: plantar fascia; plantar fasciitis; platelet-rich plasma; steroid injection.