Study Underway to Determine the Effectiveness of Extracorporeal Shock Wave in Treating Chronic Heal Pain Syndrome

September 03, 1999

A national multi-center study is currently underway to determine the effectiveness of an FDA-regulated trial of extracorporeal shock wave (ESW) for treating chronic heel pain syndrome, or plantar fasciitis. The University of Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital is one of the designated study sites.

The study at Strong Memorial Hospital seeks to determine if an ESW treatment applied through the use of a new device known as an OssaTron, can induce new circulation and promote healing in over-use injuries, such as chronic heel pain. The OssaTron is similar to ESW lithotripsy devices used to treat kidney stones. The current standard treatment for chronic heel pain sufferers is physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug therapy, and use of an orthotic device.

"This study holds tremendous promise for individuals suffering from chronic heel pain and other over-use injuries, who have not responded to the standard treatment methods in the past," said Judith Baumhauer, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and principal investigator of the study. "The possible benefits are a drastic reduction in pain, and the potential to function without the use of medication for heel pain."

The study is a randomized, double blind study, which will evaluate the success of the extracorporeal shock wave therapy against placebo (treatment in which the shock wave is blocked). The study is open to individuals of either sex, greater than 21 years of age who have suffered from heel pain syndrome for a minimum of six months, and who have failed to respond to standard treatment regimens. Study participants must be willing to be randomized to active or placebo treatment and must also be willing to continue study participation through 12 months. Participants are required to undergo testing prior to treatment, including x-rays, blood work and EKG. Individuals interested in the study can call the Department of Orthopaedics at (716) 275-5933.

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