Patients found relief from foot pain in short study, but longer trials are needed
MONDAY, March 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) — An ultrasound technique is showing early promise as a quick and minimally-invasive treatment for plantar fasciitis. The findings were scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, held from Feb. 28 to March 5 in Atlanta.
“While the long-term outcome studies are in progress, the results we have seen to date are very promising,” study lead author Rahul Razdan, M.D., an interventional radiologist with Advanced Medical Imaging in Lincoln, Neb., told HealthDay. Razdan said the new ultrasound therapy is an entirely “novel approach” that uses ultrasonic energy to cut and remove damaged, pain-generating tissue while sparing healthy foot tissue.
In the study, Razdan’s team tested the procedure on 65 patients who sought care at an interventional radiology clinic in 2013 and 2014. All had chronic plantar fasciitis, and all had failed to respond to standard treatments. During the ultrasound therapy, doctors guided a hollow needle tip into an area of affected tissue by means of ultrasound guidance. Once in position, the tip targeted a combination of high frequency/low amplitude sound to the damaged foot region. That broke up the pain-generating tissue, which was then extracted out of the foot. In total, average treatment time was about a minute and a half, and sedation was not used.
According to the researchers, by two weeks after treatment, patients showed more than a 90 percent improvement (on average) in their foot disability assessments, compared with their pre-treatment status. These improvements appeared to persist for at least six months out, with no notable complications, Razdan said.
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