Use of low-frequency electrical stimulation for the treatment of plantar fasciitis

Michael Stratton, Thomas G. McPoil, Mark W. Cornwall, Kyle Patrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Recent research has discussed the use of low-frequency electrical stimulation to increase blood flow by eliciting muscular contraction in soft tissues. This randomized clinical trial examined the efficacy of low-frequency electrical stimulation combined with stretching exercises and foot orthoses in individuals diagnosed as having plantar fasciitis for less than 6 months. Methods: Twenty-six participants aged 18 to 65 years diagnosed as having plantar fasciitis were randomly assigned to two treatment groups: a control group receiving only stretching and orthoses and a treatment group receiving low-frequency electrical stimulation in addition to stretching and orthoses. To assess treatment response, a visual analog scale was used to determine first-step morning pain, and changes in daily activity levels were monitored by using a validated outcome measure. All of the participants were assessed before starting treatment, after 4 weeks of treatment, and 3 months after the conclusion of treatment. Results: Participants in the control and experimental groups demonstrated pain reduction and improvements in functional activity levels after 4 weeks and 3 months. Conclusions: Regardless of whether low-frequency electrical stimulation was used as an intervention, the use of plantar fascia-specific stretching and prefabricated foot orthoses provided short-term (3-month) pain relief and improvement in functional activity levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-488
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Podiatric Medical Association
Volume99
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Podiatry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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