Clin J Sport Med. 2021 Jul 7. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000930. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the outcomes for patients with chronic plantar fasciitis after extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) or autologous blood injection (ABI).
DESIGN: Cohort study-retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data.
SETTING: Hospital-based Sports Medicine Outpatient Clinic.
PATIENTS: One hundred two consecutive patients with chronic plantar fasciitis, treated with either radial-ESWT (rESWT) (n = 54) or ABI (n = 48), with minimum 3-month follow-up and 96% (98/102) having 6-month follow-up. Mean age 49.5 years and mean duration of symptoms 37.5 months before treatment.
INTERVENTIONS: Patients received either 3 sessions of radial ESWT (one session per week for 3 weeks), or a single ultrasound-guided dry needling and ABI (3 mL whole autologous blood). All patients received standardized after-care, including progressive structured home exercise program of flexibility, strengthening, and proprioception exercises.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: 0 to 10 numerical rating scale (NRS) for self-reported “average pain” and “average stiffness” values. Secondary outcome measures included assessments of local foot function [including Manchester-Oxford Foot Questionnaire (MOXFQ), revised-Foot Function Index] as well as markers of mental health functioning (HAD), global health (EQ-5D-5L), and physical activity (International Physical Activity Questionnaire).
RESULTS: This study demonstrated statistically significant improvements in self-reported measures of pain and local foot function after either procedure at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months, but no statistically significant differences were seen between groups at any time-period studied. At 6 months, the average pain using a 0 to 10 NRS was improved from 6.8 ± 1.8 to 4.0 ± 2.7 (P < 0.001) after ESWT and from 7.1 ± 1.6 to 3.8 ± 2.7 (P < 0.001) after ABI. At 6 months, significant improvements were seen following either group using a number of different validated patient-rated outcome measures assessing local foot pain and function, eg, the total score for MOXFQ improved from 56.1 ± 12.8 to 42.5 ± 16.6 (P < 0.001) after ESWT and from 58.8 ± 13.2 to 44.2 ± 19.2 (P < 0.001) after ABI. However, measures of physical activity or wider aspects of patient functioning did not consistently improve from baseline values to follow-up periods.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with chronic plantar fasciitis improved to statistically significant extent after either rESWT or ABI procedures, with no significant differences seen between groups. The lack of randomization in this pragmatic study is noted, which may have influenced the outcome seen. Potentially larger and more robust studies are required to investigate this treatment comparison further.