A small study found that Botox injections work better than traditional steroid injections to relieve plantar fasciitis pain and better recovery. Physicians often resort to cortisone (steroid) injections when plantar fasciitis pain isn't relieved by rest, ice, night splints and stretching. In a small percentage of patients, however, it leads to plantar fascia rupture and loss of the fat pad on the bottom of the foot, resulting in more pain. Using Botox is a relatively new technique and doesn't carry those side effects.
Treatment of Plantar Faciitis
The small study used just 36 subjects, but it was a randomized, double-blind study. Both the cortisone and Botox treated groups had the same pain relief initially. But the Botox group had better and sustained improvement in pain and functionality in the long term. The study authors stressed the importance of performing plantar fascia stretches throughout treatment and recovery.
Plantar Fascia Intrinsic Stretch
Plantar Fascia Rolling Stretch
Photo © Wendy Bumgardner
Jorge Elizondo-Rodriguez, Yariel Araujo-Lopez, J. Alberto Moreno-Gonzalez, Eloy Cardenas-Estrada, Oscar Mendoza-Lemus, and Carlos Acosta-Olivo, "A Comparison of Botulinum Toxin A and Intralesional Steroids for the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized, Double-Blinded Study." Foot & Ankle International.January, 2013.