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The efficacy of oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) in the treatment of plantar fasciitis: a randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled study.


Orthopaedic Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Desk A40, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.



Plantar fasciitis frequently responds to a broad range of conservative therapies, and there is no single universally accepted way of treating this condition. Modalities commonly used include rest, ice massage, stretching of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, foot padding, taping, shoe modifications (steel shank and anterior rocker bottom), arch supports, heel cups, custom foot orthoses, night splints, ultrasound, and casting. To our knowledge, no prospective, randomized, placebo controlled double-blind study has evaluated the efficacy of oral NSAIDs in the treatment of plantar fasciitis.


Twenty-nine patients with the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis were treated with a conservative regimen that included heel-cord stretching, viscoelastic heel cups, and night splinting. They were randomly assigned to either a placebo group or an NSAID group. In the NSAID group, celecoxib was added to the treatment regimen.


Pain and disability mean scores improved significantly over time in both groups, although there was no statistical significance between the placebo and NSAID groups at 1, 2, or 6 months. There was a trend towards improved pain relief and disability in the NSAID group, especially in the interval between the 2 and 6-month followup. Pain improved from baseline to 6 months by a factor of 5.2 and disability by 3.8 in the NSAID group compared to 3.6 and 3.5, respectively, in the placebo group. Even though at baseline the pain and disability scores were higher in the NSAID group, the final pain and disability scores were subjectively lower in the NSAID group than in the placebo group (1.43 for pain and 1.16 for disability in the NSAID group, compared to 1.86 and 1.49, respectively, in the placebo group).


These results provide some evidence that the use of an NSAID may increase pain relief and decrease disability in patients with plantar fasciitis when used with a conservative treatment regimen.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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