J Foot Ankle Surg. 2015 Mar 10. pii: S1067-2516(14).
Plantar fasciitis affects nearly 1 million persons in the United States at any one time. Conservative therapies have been reported to successfully treat 90% of plantar fasciitis cases; however, for the remaining cases, only invasive therapeutic solutions remain. This investigation studied newly emerging technology, low-level laser therapy. From September 2011 to June 2013, 69 subjects were enrolled in a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, multicenter study that evaluated the clinical utility of low-level laser therapy for the treatment of unilateral chronic fasciitis. The volunteer participants were treated twice a week for 3 weeks for a total of 6 treatments and were evaluated at 5 separate time points: before the procedure and at weeks 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8. The pain rating was recorded using a visual analog scale, with 0 representing "no pain" and 100 representing "worst pain." Additionally, Doppler ultrasonography was performed on the plantar fascia to measure the fascial thickness before and after treatment. Study participants also completed the Foot Function Index. At the final follow-up visit, the group participants demonstrated a mean improvement in heel pain with a visual analog scale score of 29.6 ± 24.9 compared with the placebo subjects, who reported a mean improvement of 5.4 ± 16.0, a statistically significant difference (p < .001). Although additional studies are warranted, these data have demonstrated that low-level laser therapy is a promising treatment of plantar fasciitis.