- Last Updated: April 6, 2017
The plantar fascia is a tendinous structure that connects the heel to the toes, and this tissue can become torn or inflamed, causing pain to the region. This is most common in people who spend a lot of time standing. It affects 1 in 10 people at some time in their life.
Wearing supportive shoes and stretching the calf and toes can help prevent plantar fasciitis pain. Many cases of plantar fasciitis are treated with ice, rest, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. More severe cases may need corticosteroid injections or other more invasive treatments, such as shock wave treatments. Roughly 90% of plantar fasciitis patients are able to resolve their symptoms with these techniques, but a plantar fascia release or other surgeries are considered in the remaining patients.
Focused Ultrasound Treatment
Recent work by Guided Therapy Systems has expanded to include musculoskeletal treatments. Their Intense Therapeutic Ultrasound tool is approximately the size of an electric razor with a circular head that emits focused ultrasound. The beam is aimed so that it focuses at a pre-determined distance beneath the skin.
In a recent double-blinded, sham controlled study done with the University of Arizona, 27 treated patients were compared to 11 sham controls. Treatments occurred two weeks apart, and at 12 weeks of treatment, there was a positive response in 81% of the patients treated.
Guided Therapy Systems has indicated additional clinical trials on Plantar Fasciitis and Epicondylitis are ongoing.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
This therapy is experimental, and has not been approved in the US or overseas. Guided Therapy Systems intends to pursue the CE Mark overseas, followed by FDA clearance.
Slayton, M., Amodei, R., Compton, K., Cicchinelli, L., Retrospective Analysis of Plantar Fascia by Ultrasound Imaging Patients Diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2008 Jun;16(6):338-46. JAPMA (in print) 2017
Neufeld SK, Cerrato R. Plantar fasciitis: evaluation and treatment. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2008 Jun;16(6):338-46.
Mast TD, Makin IR, Faidi W, Runk MM, Barthe PG, Slayton MH. Bulk ablation of soft tissue with intense ultrasound: modeling and experiments. J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 Oct;118(4):2715-24.