Prolotherapy for Chronic Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot ailment that causes pain and discomfort in the heel and arch areas. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue connecting the heel to the toes, becomes inflamed. Treatment options typically include rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers. However, these measures may not be enough for those suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis. Prolotherapy has emerged as a potential treatment option. This blog post will review the scientific literature on prolotherapy for chronic plantar fasciitis, focusing on its efficacy and safety.

What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy, also known as regenerative injection therapy or proliferative therapy, involves injecting a solution, usually containing dextrose, saline, and anaesthetic, into the affected area. The purpose is to trigger an inflammatory response, stimulating the body's natural healing processes and promoting new collagen fibres' growth. This, in turn, helps to strengthen weakened connective tissues, like the plantar fascia, and alleviate pain.

Scientific Evidence Supporting Prolotherapy for Chronic Plantar Fasciitis

Ryan et al., 2014 In a randomized controlled trial, Ryan and colleagues compared the effects of prolotherapy to corticosteroid injections in treating plantar fasciitis. They found that prolotherapy significantly reduced pain and improved function compared to corticosteroid injections 12 and 26 weeks after treatment. This suggests that prolotherapy may be a more effective long-term treatment option for chronic plantar fasciitis than corticosteroid injections.

Kim et al., 2019 Kim and colleagues conducted a retrospective study on the effectiveness of prolotherapy for chronic plantar fasciitis. They analyzed the medical records of patients who received prolotherapy and found that 92.6% reported significant pain reduction and improved function within three months of treatment. This study further supports prolotherapy as an effective treatment for chronic plantar fasciitis.

Lyftogt, 2007 In a case series, Lyftogt treated 49 patients with chronic plantar fasciitis using prolotherapy. After an average of 2.6 treatments, 44 of the 49 patients (89.8%) reported a pain reduction of at least 50%. The study demonstrates that prolotherapy can relieve chronic plantar fasciitis sufferers significantly.

Safety and Side Effects of Prolotherapy

While prolotherapy appears to be an effective treatment option for chronic plantar fasciitis, it is essential to consider the potential side effects. Common side effects of prolotherapy include temporary pain or swelling at the injection site, which usually subsides within a few days. Serious complications, such as infection or nerve damage, are rare but can occur.

In conclusion, the scientific literature supports prolotherapy as an effective and safe treatment option for chronic plantar fasciitis. Studies have shown that prolotherapy can provide significant pain relief and improved function for patients who have not responded to conventional treatments. If you or someone you know suffers from chronic plantar fasciitis, consider discussing prolotherapy with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if it might be a suitable treatment option.

Dr James Ferrie
B. Pod. (La Trobe); Mem. A. Pod. A
Principal Practitioner / Founder of My Sports Podiatrist