A Comparative Efficacy Evaluation of Ultrasound-Guided Pulsed Radiofrequency Treatment in the Gastrocnemius in Managing Plantar Heel Pain: A Randomized and Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective.

The treatment of plantar heel pain is highly challenging. We report ultrasound-guided pulsed radiofrequency treatment (UG-PRF) in the gastrocnemius to treat plantar heel pain and minimize the safety issues.

Design.

This study compared UG-PRF with sham treatment in 100 patients with plantar heel pain. Primary outcome measures include the pain subscale of the Foot Health Status Questionnaire (FHSQ-pain) and “first step” pain as measured on a visual analogue scale (VAS-“first-step” pain). The secondary outcome measures include the FHSQ-foot function and general foot health, and health related quality of life (assessed using the Short Form-36 questionnaire [SF-36]). All outcomes were measured at 3 and 6 months post-treatment.

Results.

The results showed the efficacy of UG-PRF in terms of pain management, as reflected by higher FHSQ-pain score (increased by 20.0 (P< 0.0001) and 17.9 (P= 0.001) compared with the sham treatment at 3 or 6 months, respectively) and lower VAS-“first-step” pain (reduced by 26.1 (P< 0.0001) and 14.3 (P= 0.01) compared with the sham group at 3 or 6 months, respectively). The FHSQ-foot function and FHSQ-general foot health were increased by the UG-PRF (P< 0.05, vs sham treatment at 3 or 6 months). The SF-36 physical component score in the sham group was 10.8 (P= 0.042) and 10.4 (P= 0.044) lower than the UG-PRF group at 3 or 6 months, respectively. No severe complications were observed.

Conclusions.

We conclude that the UG-PRF is both safe and efficacious in managing plantar heel pain.

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