METHODS: The study design was a retrospective review of outcomes of 15 patients seen in a multidisciplinary office setting. All patients had undergone plantar fasciotomy within the 9 months before their admission and had developed lateral foot pain after operation. Each patient had exhibited suboptimal improvement with at least a 4- to 6-week trial of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, shoe padding, and rest as prescribed by the attending podiatric surgeon. Manual therapy consisted of either grade III or grade IV joint mobilization and/or high-velocity, low-amplitude chiropractic manipulation to the affected joints in the foot and ankle, and home-based exercise. Outcome criteria were empirically defined as significant improvement, moderate improvement, or no change as assessed by each patient based on a verbal rating scale.
RESULTS: There was no long-lasting complication associated with any of the procedures, although a common pattern of transient pain migration over the dorsum of the foot into the ankle was noted in some patients; this resolved by the time of discharge. Of the patients with pain in the calcaneocuboid and/or fifth tarsometatarsal articulation, 11 noted significant improvement, 3 experienced moderate improvement, and 1 reported no change. Patients who complied with home care instructions responded better to therapy in most instances.
CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary findings suggest that joint mobilization and manipulation are safe conservative procedures to use in the treatment of patients with lateral column foot pain in status post plantar fasciotomy.
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