Extracorporeal shock wave therapy of gastroc-soleus trigger points in patients with plantar fasciitis: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial


Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is an alternative treatment for refractory cases of plantar fasciitis. Studies also demonstrated that ESWT may be an appropriate treatment for myofascial trigger points. This study was designed to evaluate its effectiveness by comparing the ESWT of Gastrocnemius/Soleus (gastroc-soleus) trigger points and heel region with the ESWT of the heel region alone.
Materials and Methods: The study was carried out among 40 patients with a clinical diagnosis of plantar fasciitis, divided randomly to case (n = 20) and control (n = 20) groups. The case group received ESWT for the heel region and for the gastroc-soleus trigger points. The control group received ESWT just for the heel region. The protocol was the same in both groups and they were treated for three sessions every week. The pain score (100 mm visual analog score [VAS]) and the modified Roles and Maudsley score was evaluated before the first session and eight weeks after the last session.
Results: Eight weeks after the last session, although the mean VAS had decreased significantly in both groups, this decrement was more significant in the case group. (P = 0.04). According to the modified Roles and Maudsley score, there was a significant improvement in both the case (P < 0.001) and control (P = 0.01) groups, eight weeks after treatment, but there were significantly better results in the case group.
Conclusion: The combination of ESWT for both plantar fasciitis and gastroc-soleus trigger points in treating patients with plantar fasciitis is more effective than utilizing it solely for plantar fasciitis.


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