New uses of Botox seem to appear regularly in the news. It's best known for smoothing deep wrinkles, but now it's also being used to treat migraine headaches, bladder disorders, and even plantar fasciitis or heel pain.
As a Seattle podiatrist I see plantar fasciitis every day. It's most common among runners, people who have poor foot mechanics, are overweight, or wear unsupportive shoes.
The reason plantar fasciitis is so painful is the inflammation that occurs as a result of the tiny tears at the heel site. Stopping the inflammation is always the first thing I treat so my patients can begin the healing process and get out of pain.
Usually, most patients can use simple strategies such as icing and taking anti-inflammatory medications to get them out of pain. However, some patients need additional help in calming down their inflammation. For these patients I need to use steroid injections or platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections which have properties that speed healing.
According to a few studies botox looks promising as well. One small study conducted in Spain, randomized patients with plantar fasciitis to two treatment groups; one group received steroid injections and the other group, botox injections.
Both groups showed clinical improvement after one month with greater improvement for pain in the botox group. Six months later only the botox group continued to improve whereas the steroid group did not. Although the study shows promise for botox in treating heel pain, there were only 28 patients in each group.
I look forward to seeing more research before I'd consider adding it to my treatment arsenal.
If you have unresolved heel pain, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.