Study Underway to Determine the Effectiveness of Non-Operative Treatment for Heel Pain

February 19, 2001

A study is currently underway to evaluate the effectiveness of different non-operative treatment protocols for long-term disabling heel pain. The study is a collaborative effort between the University of Rochester's Department of Orthopaedics and Ithaca College's Department of Physical Therapy (Rochester campus).

Potential candidates for the study are individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 who have experienced heel pain for a minimum of nine months and have not undergone surgery for this condition. The goal of the study is to compare the effectiveness of two different methods of treatment, with both methods concentrating on different stretching protocols.

"Plantar heel pain is a very common disorder which generally resolves in six to nine months, but a subset of patients develop chronic heel pain which is often disabling in regards to every day activity and athletic endeavors," said Benedict DiGiovanni, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and principal investigator of the study. "For these patients with chronic, disabling heel pain we have identified a treatment protocol focusing on a specific stretching protocol which has proven to very effective in reducing pain, increasing function, and in most cases, avoiding surgery."

Participants will receive a comprehensive foot evaluation and be educated about the cause of their condition. Over-the-counter shoe inserts will be provided and participants will be offered a three-week course of Celebrex, a new non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Interested individuals must be willing to participate in two on-site visits eight weeks apart, and return follow-up phone calls. For more information about the study, please call (716) 292-5060, extension 15.

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