Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Do you have pain near the heel? Is the pain worse in the morning? Is the pain triggered after standing for a long time or when you get up after sitting? If you answered yes to any of the questions we might be able to help you solve it! 

Plantar fasciitis is reported to account for 11-15% of all foot symptoms requiring professional care among adults. The exact cause of plantar fasciitis is unknown but a common theory is repetitive microtrauma from sport or overuse.

In this blog we will go more in depth on what plantar fasciitis is and how shockwave therapy can be used to treat it.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a degenerative condition of the plantar fascia, a fibrous band of tissue on the sole of the foot that helps to support the arch. It typically occurs when the plantar fascia is overloaded or overstretched and results in heel pain with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. 

Plantar fasciitis may develop in anyone but runners, women, people who are overweight, people with flat feet, and those who wear shoes with inadequate support have an increased risk of plantar fasciitis.



What are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis? 

The symptoms of plantar fasciitis often appear over the course of a day or days. The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include: 

  • Pain in the bottom of your foot at the front or center of the heel bone. 
  • Pain with the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning or after a long period of rest. The pain subsides after a few minutes of walking.
  • Pain after standing for a long time.
  • Greater pain after exercise or activity.

What is Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy?

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a noninvasive treatment that involves delivery of shock waves to injured soft tissue to decrease pain and promote healing. It has been used in the treatment of many musculoskeletal conditions, primarily those involving connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons. 

ESWT is most suited for people who have chronic tendinopathies which haven't responded to other treatments.


What Does Shockwave Therapy Do for Plantar Fasciitis?

Shockwave therapy is a gentle, quick treatment that can help eliminate heel pain from plantar fasciitis. Research has shown ESWT to be one of the most effective treatment for plantar fasciitis. 

There are other treatments such as ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and proper shoes with a custom shoe orthotic but these are more short term treatments. For an effective, long term treatment the combination of exercise and shockwave therapy has been highly recommended.

How Does it Work?

One of the reasons that plantar fascia can take a while to heal is because it does not get a lot of blood flow. Shockwave therapy can help enhance blood flow in that area, reduce inflammation, and promote healing by regenerating healthy cells.

The process of shockwave therapy is quick and easy. A gel is applied to the treatment area then a special probe is used to deliver acoustic waves to the skin. These waves travel throughout the skin until they reach the inflamed tissue. 

The whole process takes around 5 minutes and the number of treatments varies depending on the indication and tissue response. But many people experience relief right after their first treatment.


Does shockwave therapy hurt?

Most patients do not experience pain during shockwave therapy but may feel some discomfort. Anesthetic is rarely used in shockwave therapy as most patients can tolerate it due to attenuation of shock from the fat pad.

How long does it take for shockwave therapy to work?

The number of treatments may vary for each patient. Patients with a quick response are more likely to benefit than those without a quick response. However, the effect of the treatment is cumulative, so you will typically need more than one (3–5) treatment.

What are the side effects of shockwave therapy?

The side effects of shockwave therapy is limited. However, shockwave therapy should not be used if there is a circulation or nerve disorder, infection, bone tumor, or a metabolic bone condition. It should  also not be used if there are any open wounds or tumors or during pregnancy pregnant. 

If you are dealing with plantar fasciitis or have any further questions, contact us at: 780 862 3111.

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