I've got a hunch that you know someone (friend or class participant) who suffer from plantar fasciitis. This new, noninvasive procedure sounds promising.

HAMDEN >> Alex Horjatschun was in excruciating pain from tendinitis, caused by a bone spur on his heel. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was a definite 10.

“I would get up off the couch and I would be limping,” he said, and it was difficult to do his workouts or stand for any length of time.

Normally, tendinitis and plantar fasciitis, which is closely related to tendinitis, are treated with surgery or with high-powered shock waves, both of which require anesthesia.

But Horjatschun is one of the first patients to be treated with a new machine that uses lower-level sound waves – the Storz Duolith SD1. “This machine has the benefits of having the patient direct you to the areas that hurt because it”™s a midrange energy level that”™s tolerable,” said Horjatschun”™s podiatrist, Dr. David Caminear of Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists.

Caminear was one of the authors of a double-blind study to test the Duolith, which recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, “arguably the most prestigious orthopedic journal in the world,” Caminear said.

“I was a little skeptical of how it was going to work … but after the first treatment (the pain) seemed to really subside and after the third treatment it was like night and day,” said Horjatschun, who lives in the Valley. (He asked that his hometown not be identified for personal reasons.)

“The pain now is maybe a 1, if that,” Horjatschun said. The treatments “decreased the inflammation and now it”™s gone away.”

Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon that connects a muscle to a bone. Plantar fasciitis affects the bands that connect to the heel and help stabilize the foot. Both conditions can be tremendously painful.

Caminear and his colleague, Dr. Jeffrey DeLott, were among the podiatrists at six sites across the country that participated in the study. “It”™s Level 1 evidence, which in the medical world is the highest level you can get,” Caminear said. In the study, neither doctor nor patient knew whether the Duolith or a “placebo” machine was being used.

To be considered a successful therapy, patients had to report greater than 60 percent pain relief, Caminear said, and 65 percent of patients did, which is considered a success. In other words, six in 10 patients who were subjected to the Duolith machine experienced at least a two-thirds reduction in pain.

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