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Can ultrasound exacerbate PF?

Posted by Andrea M. on 3/11/03 at 11:00 (112536)

I have been receiving physical therapy, including ultrasound treatments, for two months for the treatment of PF. Up until yesterday, my condition was steadily improving and I was experiencing a significant reduction in pain, almost to the point where I could walk moderate distances without any pain. I have consistently experienced pain on the side of my heel, about an inch above the bottom of my foot. Yesterday, while receiving ultrasound treatment I experienced what can only be described as an electric jolt of pain. On a scale of 1-10, it was a 10. It occured when the person adminstering the treatment (a student, by the way) passed the ultrasound over the area on my heel where I have had the most pain. It abated when the ultrasound was removed from the area. Although I can't be certain, I don't think other therapists adminstering ultrasound to me have come up quite as high as that. I certainly never experienced the slightest pain from ultrasound before. At the time I experienced the pain, the student was pressing somewhat harder than others have done, but nothing really extraordinary. Thereafter, when the head of the ultrasound device came any where near that area, I felt significant pain of an electric, burning quality. Of course, the treatment was stopped and I was examined by a therapist. She thought my pain raised the possibility of stress fracture but did not feel my symptoms were otherwise consistent with that. When she palpated the painful area I felt some increase in pain, but nothing remotely like what the ultrasound produced. I had pain in my heel for the rest of the day, but was able to walk and stand on it with any great increase in pain. Today the pain is reduced quite a bit, but I feel more tenderness when I walk than I had been experiencing. I would appreciate any guidance on whether this is suggestive of stress fracture, whether there are any circumstances in which ultrasound might actually make PF worse, or whether this was just some weird reaction to the ultrasound passing over an area that is largely just skin and bone.

Re: Can ultrasound exacerbate PF?

Dr. Z on 3/11/03 at 11:37 (112541)

If the pain continues you need to get an MRI to rule out a stress fracture. It is possible you have one

Re: Can ultrasound exacerbate PF?

JenL on 3/11/03 at 15:05 (112570)

I had similar experience with ultrasound treatment. I had physical therapy for about 20 times over two months period last year. I did not feel any pain when my heels were being treated w/h ultrasound until the last two setions. All of sudden a sharp pain shoot up to my leg from a side of a heel when the person giving me the treatment moved the head of device to that area. But the pain did not last longer than a few seconds. Athough I was getting the treatment for both heels, it occured to only one foot. About two months later I did MRI, and it did not show any stress fracture. Then another month passed when I went to a different clinic to start another round of physical therapy. And the same thing happended to the same foot. Needless to say that was the end of therapy for my heel pains.
Well, now we know we are not alone in this hoping some one will give an anwser about the reason.
Jen

Re: Can ultrasound exacerbate PF?

Sharon W on 3/11/03 at 17:46 (112579)

Could it be the calcaneal nerve that became irritated and inflamed? Or, possibly, Baxter's nerve? I don't know, just a guess...

Sharon

Re: Can ultrasound exacerbate PF?

Andrea M. on 3/12/03 at 10:41 (112646)

Thanks to all who responded. I appreciate the information. If I can ask for a bit more, what is Baxter's nerve?

Andrea

Re: Can ultrasound exacerbate PF?

Sharon W on 3/12/03 at 11:34 (112651)

The first branch of the lateral plantar nerve -- it goes toward the heel.

Sharon

Re: Not a doctor

Sharon W on 3/12/03 at 11:59 (112653)

I should also point out that I am NOT a doctor.

Sharon

Re: Can ultrasound exacerbate PF?

Rose M. on 3/12/03 at 16:47 (112680)

I have been receiving ultrasound from a chiropractor. He is very careful to do it so that I feel no pain. He said to tell him immediately if I ever felt any pain at all during the treatment. He described sound breaking a glass. He said that if he turned it too high, it could actually shatter the bone as a glass would break or cause a stress like fracture if a little less. So it is extremely impotant to make sure the person administering the treatment has many years of experience. I have had wonderful results.