Focused Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Better Than Placebo to Relieve Pain in Patients with Chronic Plantar Fasciitis


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Am Fam Physician. 2015 Oct 1;92(7):635.

Clinical Question

Is focused extracorporeal shock wave therapy effective in relieving pain in patients with chronic plantar fasciitis?

Bottom Line

In this study, unlike others, patients with chronic plantar fasciitis treated with extra-corporeal shock wave therapy had greater pain relief than those treated with placebo. (Level of Evidence = 1b)


The outcomes of treating plantar fasciitis with extracorporeal shock wave therapy have been mixed, and the overall improvement has not been believed to be clinically important. These researchers, most of whom had ties to the manufacturer of the ultrasound equipment used in this study, were convinced that their approach would be better,

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by EssentialEvidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, please see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP,search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, Associate Medical Editor.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at http://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.


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