Plantar fasciitis is a common foot ailment that affects millions of people across the globe. As discussed in previous articles, PF can result in excruciating pain if not treated in a timely and professional manner. While there are a myriad of treatment options available, not all can permanently secure lasting results. From medicine and orthotics to extensive surgical treatments, there are options available for those seeking to alleviate the pain and stress. When these conservative treatments have failed, however, extracorporeal shock wave therapy may be a sound and effective alternative. This is a popular and growing form of physical therapy designed to treat soft tissue injuries and mishaps. This includes Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (shin splits), Achilles Tendonopathy, and of course, plantar fasciitis or heel spurs.
Shockwave therapies for plantar fasciitis continue to grow in global popularity. In fact, countless podiatrists, foot specialists, and orthotics firms like Footlogics highly recommend these therapies for patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. This cutting edge and innovative therapy gained mass support within the medical community back in 2013. This, after years of research that led to a positive meta-analysis highlighting the benefits of shockwave therapy. The research concluded that this form of therapy was crucial in reducing the pain associated with PF. The reports further showed that shockwave therapies helped patients’ secure better mobility and flexibility.
How Shockwave Therapy Works
While any form of plantar fasciitis treatment must be administered by leading experts, shockwave therapy is designed to stimulate blood vessel growth in areas affected by chronic injuries. To secure optimal and lasting results, electroshocks are applied to the injured of damaged areas. This is via a pneumatic hand piece, which produced acoustic waves that deeply penetrate the body tissue. The blood vessels then transport the nutrients to the injury area, which effectively allows the body to heal the injuries. The shockwaves also affect the nerves that carry pain signals resulting in less stress for the patient.
What Does ESWT entail?
Before shockwave therapy is applied, your podiatrist or foot doctor will effectively analyze and assess your current situation. This may include x-rays, along with other tests to determine the severity of your foot injury or heel spurs. The assessment will also include your medical history, along with the causes of the pain and relevant factors. If shockwave therapy is a viable option, your physician will walk you through the entire process in great detail. For most patients, shockwave therapy sessions last around 10-15 minutes. During each session, 3,000 shocks will be applied to the sites of your injuries. While you will feel instant relief within the first session, three to five treatments are mandatory in securing lasting and maximum results. These sessions will be performed at weekly intervals to foster greater chances of long term improvement.
Side Effects of Shockwave Therapy
Like most therapeutic procedures, side effects are common. With shockwave therapy, patients may experience discomfort at varying levels. The levels of discomfort, however, should not supersede the tolerability that is expected. To ensure a pain free experience, your podiatrist will monitor the shocks administered and communicate with you at all times. The device used will also be set according to your specific needs, and should not be overly painful during the sessions. No anesthetics or injections of any sort are needed during the process. In fact, you will be able to walk out of the treatment and go about your day.
Does This Therapy Really Work?
While results vary, patients that have received shockwave therapy have heralded the treatment for its lasting and successful results. In fact, current evidence and reports show that shockwave therapies have led to pain alleviation and reduction for patients across the board. This includes recipients that have gone a full year without the chronic and ongoing pain associated with PF. Where traditional and conservative therapies have failed for some, nearly all patients have benefitted from shockwave therapy in some form or the other. While effective, this popular form of therapy is considered a stand along treatment option. This means it’s a last resort for those that do not want to undergo costly surgical procedures. To prevent the injuries from returning, patients must work with their foot specialists to pinpoint the factors associated with plantar fasciitis. This includes stress, along with overexertion and especially foot and ankle related injuries.
For more information on shockwave therapy for Plantar Fasciitis and other foot problems, simply speak to your podiatrist today. Visiting Footlogics regularly is another way to stay informed about the latest developments in PF shockwave therapies and foot care.