Treatment for plantar fasciitis is expensive and ineffective

There are nearly 2 million cases of plantar fasciitis in the United States every year. As an orthopaedic surgeon, I’m quite familiar with this issue since nearly 20 percent of my patients come to me about plantar fasciitis.

Although there is a surefire way to fix the problem, the current treatments aren’t really addressing the issue, and they are costing millions for those who suffer from the heel pain. Many are quick to blame the chosen treatments on profit, but I’m here to set the record straight.

There are two main factors that are contributors to mistreatment, neither of which is profit. Many doctors dealing with plantar fasciitis think their treatment plans are the right course of action. That is, expensive surgeries, useless orthotics, and temporary relief through medicine. The other factor leading to the mistreatment is that patients are demanding these treatments; despite how medical studies have shown they are ineffective. Many believe that a surgery will fix their plantar fasciitis problems; it’s a misconception that surgery is what they need.

Honestly, I don’t think the patients or the doctors know how expensive these treatments end up. In 2007 alone, there was an estimated $376 million in expenses for third parties. But what about the patient costs?

The authors of this study revealed that this estimate is low, and I have to agree; it’s definitely a conservative number since the patient’s expenses aren’t part of the study. The study doesn’t take into account lost time from work, OTC items, chiropractic visits, acupuncture, night splints, diagnostic studies, among other costs.

So what should we learn from this? An exorbitant amount of money is spent on these treatments every year, but the real issue isn’t just the expense, it’s that most treatments are unnecessary and ineffective.

How much have you paid to relieve your plantar fasciitis problems? Were the treatments effective?

“Angry Orthopod” is an orthopedic surgeon who blogs at his self-titled site, The Angry Orthopod.

Submit a guest post and be heard on social media’s leading physician voice.

View 32 Comments >

Most Popular

Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories.