Navigation Links
New Twist on Treatment of Foot Pain

'Dry-needling,' steroids effective against plantar fasciitis, researchers say

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Italian researchers say they've developed a fast, effective, non-invasive treatment for the painful foot condition known as plantar fasciitis.

Using a combination of "dry-needling" and steroid injections guided by ultrasound, the researchers say their approach achieved a 95 percent success rate in tackling a condition that afflicts about one million Americans every year and accounts for up to 15 percent of all foot problems.

"On a long-term basis, patients recover almost completely from their fasciitis" following the procedure, said study lead author Dr. Luca M. Sconfienza, from the University of Genoa department of experimental medicine. "Overall, the ultrasound guidance allows performing the procedure in total safety."

Sconfienza was to present the findings Monday at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting, in Chicago.

Plantar fasciitis produces pain caused by stress placed on the bottom of the foot, which occurs when the plantar fascia -- a band of connective tissue running from the heel to the ball -- becomes inflamed. It can result from aerobic injury or even improper shoe support, and is the most common muscular-skeletal problem that foot doctors face in the United States, according to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine.

Non-surgical treatment is often effective, involving a combination of anti-inflammatory medication; foot rest; switching to shoes with improved arch support and orthotics; and physical therapy, according to the academy.

The study authors noted, however, that such a standard line of treatment may take up to a year to produce benefits, and doesn't help everyone. Patients can then try shockwave therapy, which involves multiple applications of sound waves directed at the affected area. This treatment is often painful and can lead to swelling, bruising, and numbness, however. The next option is surgery.

Searching for an alternative treatment, Sconfienza and his colleagues focused on 44 plantar fasciitis patients who had proven "unresponsive to medical therapy." Radiologists first applied a local anesthetic to the patients' affected heel area, and then repeatedly poked the region with a solid needle -- a procedure known as dry-needling -- to provoke more blood flow to the area.

A small amount of steroids was then injected into the same area, with ultrasound guidance used to improve accuracy and to avoid injecting the steroids into the plantar fascia, which could rupture the tissue. Following a single 15-minute treatment, orthotics were inserted into each patient's footwear to take pressure off the rear part of the foot.

The result: 42 of the 44 patients were cured of their symptoms within two to three weeks of treatment, the researchers said.

"As it is conceived, our procedure is new," said Sconfienza. "To our best knowledge, the combination of dry-needling and steroid has never been described. We think that this combination is the strength of the therapy, and being so simple and cheap, the procedure can be performed anywhere and by anyone who underwent a basic training in interventional ultrasound."

Dr. Johanna Youner, a New York City podiatrist and a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association, said that while the combination of steroids and dry-needling may be novel, the use of steroids itself is not.

"But what is interesting," she added, "is the notion of using dry-needling -- that is poking at the inflamed area repeatedly. This would increase the trauma to the area a little, and by doing that increase blood flow. That is not a traditional treatment. And it might seem counterintuitive. But when you increase inflammation and blood flow to an area you can help it heal faster. And the fascia itself is a ligament that does not have a lot of blood flow, so it heals slowly. So this could theoretically help."

More information

To learn more about plantar fasciitis, visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

SOURCES: Luca M. Sconfienza, M.D., department of experimental medicine, University of Genoa, Italy; Johanna Youner, DPM, doctor of podiatric medicine, New York City, and member, American Podiatric Medical Association; Dec. 1, 2008, presentation, Radiological Society of North America annual meeting, Chicago

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Holiday Meals With a Calorie-Conscious Twist
2. Jennifer & Gigi: A Story of Love and Compassion with a Hollywood Twist -- In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, celebrates "Grandma Gene" and gives a voice to the community of caregivers around the world
3. Video: 2008 US Olympic Gymnastic Superstars Join Todays Top Music Icons for Womens Cancer Awareness Network Special, Frosted Pink with a Twist
4. Direct From Beijing, 2008 Olympic Gymnastic Superstars and Grammy Award Winning Icons Descend Upon San Diego to Tape ABC Network Womens Cancer Awareness Special, Frosted Pink With A Twist
5. Bright Starts(TM) Adds New Twist to Old Favorites
6. Olympic Champion Mary Lou Retton and ASCO Join Frosted Pink with a Twist to Empower Women Through Education and Advocacy
7. V8 V-Fusion(R) Takes an Exotic, Tasty Twist on Vegetable Juice
8. DNA with a twist: New company to search for cancer drugs and antibiotics
9. FDA Approves ASMANEX (R) TWISTHALER(R) (Mometasone Furoate Inhalation Powder) for the Once Daily Maintenance Treatment of Asthma in Children Ages 4-11
10. DC Ranch Village Health Club & Spa Twists with Chocolate Yoga Class
11. Chubby Checker Adds Twist to 10,000 Strong at Ninth Annual Walk to Cure Cancer for UMass Memorial Cancer Center at the UMass Medical School
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of Swiss doctors has released a ... Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. Click here to read ... of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed by EPP surgery. Among ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... 27th edition of USA Today in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, South Florida, ... The digital component is distributed nationally, through a vast social media strategy and ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Intellitec Solutions announced ... User Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s official group for end users of Dynamics ... software users, partners, industry experts and representatives. Intellitec Solutions’ membership status demonstrates their ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... CBD College ... Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) awarded accreditation to its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD ... colleges, as only one of twelve colleges and universities in the state of California ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of ... 11 LTS (Long Term Support) into its Q-Suite 5.10 product line. , Making ... with a version of Asterisk that will receive not only security fixes, but ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy ... new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for ... new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for ... has found that immunotherapy can be efficiently ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the ... Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities" ... --> --> This new 247-page ... therapeutic drug monitoring market, including emerging tests, technologies, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 Research ... of the "Advanced Wound Care Market by Type ... Ulcers), End User (In-Patient Facility, Out-Patient Facility), and Geography ... offering. --> --> ... the description, definition and forecast of the global advanced ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: