A comparison of the effectiveness of extracorporeal shock wave and ultrasound therapy in the management of heel pain

Lai Ying Gladys Cheing, H. Chang, S. K. Lo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) and ultrasound therapy (US) for managing heel pain. Thirty-seven subjects received either: ESWT (once a week), US (three times a week), or CONTROL (no treatment) for 3 consecutive weeks and were followed-up for 3 more weeks. A visual analogue scale (VAS), the maximum tolerable duration for prolonged walking or standing, and the Mayo clinical scoring system (MCSS) were evaluated. Mixed models treating baseline measures as covariates were adopted for statistical analysis. By week 3, intensity of heel pain on palpation was reduced by 37% (VAS score from 7.5 to 4.6) in the ESWT group, 24% (from 5.3 to 4.2) in the US group, and increased by 3% (5.6-5.7) in the control group; this difference was significant after adjusting for baseline VAS scores (p = 0.022). The improvements in the maximum tolerable duration of prolonged walking or standing was only significant in the ESWT group (157% increase, p = 0.043) but not the other two groups. Both active treatment groups maintained the treatment effect at the three-week follow-up. We conclude that ESWT is potentially more effective in reducing heel pain than ultrasound therapy but additional evidence is needed due to the various limitations of the study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalShock Waves
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007


  • ESWT
  • Heel pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ultrasound therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Computational Mechanics

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