Shockwave Therapy Eases Heel Pain
posted: Jul. 29, 2022.
Taking the first step out of bed in the morning is important to get your day started. However, experiencing a stabbing pain at the bottom of your heel can quickly ruin your day.
Many people have become well-acquainted with this specific heel pain. The pain may ease up as you begin to walk around, but it always manages to return. This unwelcome inconvenience is known as plantar fasciitis, and it affects many people in their lifetime.
Worried about living with extreme plantar fasciitis foot pain? Don’t be. We’ll be going over a current treatment option that can relieve pain in the affected area.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Before we start discussing treatment for plantar fasciitis, let’s go over what it is exactly.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fan-shaped tissue at the bottom of your foot (also known as the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed. This thick belt of connective tissue is responsible for connecting your heel bone to your toes. It also helps with maintaining the shape of your foot arch.
However, when the plantar fascia becomes strained, it can produce a sharp pain that people often feel first thing in the morning, easing as the day progresses. Most people tend to ignore the pain the moment it eases up, but the longer you leave plantar fasciitis untreated, the worse it can get. Eventually, the stabbing pain may become chronic and affect how you walk.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Many things can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis. Some of the reasons that increase the risk of the condition include the following:
Wearing unsupportive/ill-fitting shoes
Having a naturally high arch
Working a job that requires you to be on your feet for long periods
Overuse from high-impact exercises
Tension on the plantar fascia can cause the formation of small tears. Repeated stretching and tearing of the fascia can irritate or inflame it.
Most patients will first notice a stabbing pain in their heel, but some of the common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
Pain on the bottom of the heel
Pain in the arch of the foot
A swollen heel
A tight Achilles tendon
Increased pain after exercising
There are various methods available for treating plantar fasciitis. You may have received the usual recommendations, such as icing or stretching the affected area and anti-inflammatory drugs for pain reduction. However, these treatment methods aren’t always the best choice for long-term relief. It can be difficult treating plantar fasciitis when your job requires you to be on your feet all day and you can’t afford to take time off to rest. You’ll want a way to relieve the pain without resorting to invasive surgeries.
So, what treatment option can you turn to?
If conservative treatments don’t work for patients suffering from plantar fasciitis, last resorts tend to be steroid injections or surgical treatment. While some of these treatment options can provide some relief, they’re not long-term methods. Over time the tendon can weaken, but the condition can be managed with custom orthotics which add special arch support.
If you’re looking for a safe, non-surgical treatment that is FDA-approved, you might consider extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). This treatment is less risky than surgery and won’t require a long recovery period. Shock wave therapy is a gentle treatment that can eliminate heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
There are different types of shock wave therapy to treat plantar fasciitis, such as:
Focused Shock Wave Therapy (FSW): A focused shock wave is directed to a specific area in the foot to relieve pain.
Radial Shock Wave Therapy (RSW): Radial shock waves are dispersed over a wider range of the affected area.
How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
Your plantar fascia is located in an area of the foot that doesn’t get much blood flow, which is why the healing process can take a long time. The shock waves create microscopic trauma, which triggers a healing response from the body.
The Shockwave Therapy Procedure
During the shock wave therapy procedure, a probe is used to generate shock wave pulses to the skin. The waves travel throughout the skin until they reach the inflamed plantar fascial tissue. The shock therapy triggers the body’s natural healing process, whether it’s through a focused or radial shock wave. It causes new blood vessels to form, which increases oxygen and blood flow to the area.
This process decreases inflammation and promotes the regeneration of healthy cells. It can also help the body produce collagen, which is pivotal to the health of your connective tissue.
Patients commonly go through four sessions, but many claim that they feel pain relief almost immediately.
What To Expect
When visiting our clinic for your first shock wave therapy procedure, here’s what you can expect:
Location of the Inflamed Area: We’ll start by finding the painful area in your heel bone and mark the area.
Apply Gel: A gel will then be applied to your skin that enables the shock waves to access your inflamed plantar fascial tissue.
Shock Wave Probe: The probe that’s attached to the shock wave therapy device sends shock waves deep into the soft tissue of the foot.
Remove the Gel: Once the procedure is over, we’ll remove the gel from your foot.
That’s it. It’s that simple. The entire process shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes.
Is Shockwave Therapy Suitable for Everyone?
We recommend shock wave therapy for those dealing with the following:
Heel pain from plantar fasciitis or heel spurs
Bunions or hammertoes
Blood circulation disorders
Are you sick and tired of dealing with the progressively worsening pain of plantar fasciitis? It’s time to step in the right direction for fast pain relief. If you think shock wave therapy is the right treatment option for you, make an appointment with our reliable foot clinic today. Academy Foot and Orthotics Clinics has a skilled team of chiropodists that can provide you with the relief you seek with shock wave therapy, custom orthotics, and much more.