A New Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis? Deer Antler Spray, Steroids and Botox?

This has not been a good year for steroids! For the last two weeks the big news in sports has been the controversial use of Deer Antler Spray, a synthesized under the tongue spray that is the newest fad in performance enhancing drugs. This comes just weeks after Lance Armstrong admits to blood doping during his 7 year reign as Tour De France Champion. What ever happened to “good old-fashioned steroids”? Anabolic steroids have taken a back seat to new idiotic ways to “juice up”.

Although different from their Anabolic Steroid counterparts, corticosteroids are also receiving bad press. Corticosteroids are commonly used in medicine to hinder inflammation to tissues. Shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and feet can receive steroid injections for problems including plantar facitis which causes much heel pain. The fascia is a thick fibrous band that attaches to the heel. Recently, Paul Gasol of the L.A. Lakers basketball team suffered a torn plantar fascia which is much more damage than the inflammation millions feel.

The new competition for steroids in the treatment of one of Podiatry’s most common complaints, plantar fascitis, is Botox. Botulinum Toxin or Botox (BTX-A), has been a useful treatment in other avenues of medicine, most notably in Aesthetic practices to reduce wrinkles. Botox is a protein and neurotoxin that blocks the release of acetylcholine in over active muscles. It is commonly used to paralyze facial muscles whose activity causes wrinkles over time.

A recent study from Foot and Ankle International compared steroid injections head to head with Botox injections to treat plantar fasciitis. Thirty-six patients were randomly divided and treated with either Botox injections to the calf muscle complex or traditional steroid injections to the painful insertion area of the plantar fascia. Both treatment groups supplemented their therapy with plantar fascia stretching exercises. The results of the study show that, “When compared to patients who received steroids, the patients who received BTX-A exhibited more rapid and sustained improvement over the duration of the study.”

The study concluded that BTX-A injections with stretching is superior to steroid injections and stretching. Although the support for BTX injections is limited, they are gaining popularity in Podiatry. Spastic flat or cavus foot types have found relief utilizing BTX-A.

No, injecting Botox into your leg will not improve your looks. And no, abandoning steroids for the latest fad will not win you a Superbowl or Tour De France. But, with the success it has found in paralyzing facial muscles, Podiatry can expect that Botox’s use in conjunction with stretching could be a new alternative to traditional intralesional steroid injections. Contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or online at www.houstonfootspecialists.com. We have not tried this treatment but will keep an eye on it.

2013 Jeff Bowman., All Rights Reserved

Category: Heel Pain

Tags: Botox Injections, foot pain, heel Pain, Heel Pain Treatments, Plantar Fasciitis, Steroid Injections