Treatment of plantar fasciitis by iontophoresis of 0.4% dexamethasone. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Am J Sports Med. 1997 May-Jun;25(3):312-6. doi: 10.1177/036354659702500307.


Plantar fasciitis is a common problem in running sports. This study was undertaken to determine whether iontophoresis of dexamethasone in conjunction with other traditional modalities provides more immediate pain relief than traditional modalities alone. Forty affected feet were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Group I feet were treated with traditional modalities and placebo iontophoresis. Group II feet received the traditional modalities plus iontophoresis of dexamethasone. Both groups were treated six times over 2 weeks. The subjects' clinical course was assessed using the Maryland Foot Score. At the conclusion of treatment, Group II patients had significantly greater improvement than Group I patients (increase on Maryland Foot Score of 6.8 +/- 5.6 for Group II and 3.1 +/- 4.1 for Group I). However, at followup 1 month after completion of treatment there was no significant difference between groups (increase of 5.6 +/- 8.0 for Group I and 7.4 +/- 6.3 for Group II). These results suggest that although traditional modalities alone are ultimately effective, iontophoresis in conjunction with traditional modalities provides immediate reduction in symptoms. Based on these results, iontophoresis of dexamethasone for plantar fasciitis should be considered when more immediate results are needed (i.e., performance athletes and active patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fasciitis / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Foot Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Iontophoresis* / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dexamethasone