Interventional Radiology Offers New Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
Using an ultrasound needle similar to those used to remove cataracts, interventional radiologists in Nebraska are treating common, painful chronic plantar fasciitis.
Rahul Razdan, MD, of Advanced Medical Imaging in Lincoln, Nebraska, presented results of the image-guided procedure at SIR's annual meeting.
The ultrasound probe emulsifies the pain-causing diseased tissue, which is aspirated out of the foot, providing room for healthy tendon tissue to grow in its place, Razdan says. Removing the diseased tendon tissue allows the plantar fascia to flex and stretch normally, relieving pain. That diseased tissue can be visualized using ultrasound.
"Plantar fasciitis is so ubiquitous and such a difficult condition to live with, and yet patients have been limited in their treatment options," says Razdan. "While standard treatments, such as pain medication and physical therapy, can offer some relief, there have been no permanent answers. Consequently, safe and effective definitive treatments are highly desirable."
Chronic plantar fasciitis affects approximately 10% of the population and accounts for more than 1 million office visits annually, according to Razdan.
Razdan and colleagues have treated 100 patients in the study, beginning in August 2013. Those patients presented with chronic, refractory plantar fasciopathy, and all patients had previously failed to respond to medications, activity modification, and arch supports. Before treatment, patients reported how their foot pain affected their ability to manage everyday life through the Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI). FADI scores were collected from the patients at two weeks, six weeks, and six months post treatment.
Two weeks after treatment, 90% of patients showed an improvement in symptoms, and these improvements were maintained at six months. Patients also reported being highly satisfied with the treatment and had no treatment-related complications.
"It is important for patients suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis to know that they have treatment options," Razdan says. "We have patients who are in so much pain they can't even play with their kids or take their dog for a walk. This ultrasonic treatment can give patients their lives back and let them enjoy their lives. We are excited to see significant results from this treatment," he said.The treatment system, manufactured by Tenex, can also be used to treat similar chronic tendonitis injuries in the knee or elbow. A longer needle that could treat shoulders is in development, according to Tenex.