Despite the lack of evidence, therapeutic ultrasound is frequently used by PTs worldwide for treating various musculoskeletal conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled RCT, allocated patients with plantar fasciitis into two groups.
Group 1: Self-performed stretching of the plantar fascia and calf muscles
Group 2: Self-performed stretching of the plantar fascia and calf muscles and with therapeutic ultrasound
Both groups received treatments, twice weekly for 4 weeks.
Result #1: Both groups showed statistically significant improvement in pain and functional scores
Result #2: There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in any of the outcomes
Conclusion: The addition of ultrasound did not improve treatment outcomes for plantar fasciitis
Clinical Relevance: Perhaps we can finally agree that ultrasounding the heel is a waste of time! As PTs we could focus on empowering the patient with self stretches, strengthening and loading exercises and graded exposure to the functional activities that they enjoy.
Reference: Katzap Y, Additive Effect of Therapeutic Ultrasound in the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2018 Nov;48(11):847-855.