Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

, Volume 125, Issue 1, pp 6–9 | Cite as

Ultrasonographic evaluation at 6-month follow-up of plantar fasciitis after extracorporeal shock wave therapy

  • Dietrich S. Hammer
  • Frank AdamEmail author
  • Andreas Kreutz
  • Stefan Rupp
  • Dieter Kohn
  • Romain Seil
Original Article



The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) on the ultrasonographic appearance of chronically painful, proximal plantar fasciitis.

Materials and methods

Twenty-two patients with a unilateral proximal plantar fasciitis were prospectively enrolled after unsuccessful conservative treatment lasting 6 months. The contralateral plantar fascia was used as the control. ESWT (3×3000 shock waves/session of 0.2 mJ/mm2) was performed at weekly intervals. The thickness of the plantar fascia was measured ultrasonographically about 2 cm distal of the medial calcaneal tuberosity. Pain estimation on a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the comfortable walking time were recorded. No local anaesthesia was applied. Follow-up was done at 6, 12 and 24 weeks.


Before ESWT, the plantar fasciitis side was ultrasonographically significantly thicker than the control side (p<0.05), whereas 6 months after ESWT, the thickness of the fascia was no longer significantly different. The decrease in thickness of the plantar fasciitis side was significant (p<0.05). Pain during activities of daily living decreased by 79% according to the VAS, and the comfortable walking time increased, both significantly (p<0.01). In patients with little pain (VAS<30), the thickness of the plantar fasciitis side was significantly less (p<0.01) compared with patients who still suffered more pain (VAS>30).


After ESWT, the thickness of the plantar fascia in patients with plantar fasciitis decreased, pain and walking time improved (all significantly).


Plantar fasciitis Extracorporeal shock wave therapy Ultrasonography 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dietrich S. Hammer
    • 1
  • Frank Adam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreas Kreutz
    • 1
  • Stefan Rupp
    • 1
  • Dieter Kohn
    • 1
  • Romain Seil
    • 1
  1. 1.Orthopaedic University Hospital Homburg/SaarGermany

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