If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, you know how much it can interfere with your daily life. The pain and stiffness of this condition can be debilitating, making it difficult to do even the simplest tasks without feeling significant discomfort. The good news is that there are solutions available to help you get out of pain and back on your feet. One such solution is extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). Let’s take a look at what ESWT is and how it can help you manage your plantar fascia issues.
What is Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT)?
Are you looking for a non-surgical solution to your chronic plantar fasciitis? Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) may be the answer. This treatment has proven successful in healing many patients from their persistent pain more rapidly than other methods available, making it an increasingly popular choice among podiatrists. Plus, since there are no instruments that penetrate through your skin or anatomy during ESWT, there is less of a risk of infection and nerve injury as well as scarring – all of which make this procedure safer compared to others.
This new FDA-approved alternative treatment to treat plantar fasciitis is significantly cheaper and more convenient than minor surgical procedures as there are no anesthesia or facility fees required. Furthermore, downtime for each treatment session is not needed and side effects are minimal – if present at all! The patient satisfaction rate has been reported to be 85%, which even surpasses that of many surgical treatments. All in all, this alternative therapy offers an attractive option with great results.
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How does shockwave therapy work?
ESWT is an innovative treatment that encourages the body’s self-healing by creating tiny traumas in the area. This helps enhance blood circulation and nutrition delivery, resulting in the effective regeneration of tissue. Although results vary depending on the severity, three or more treatments have been proven most successful; each session typically lasts 15 minutes. ESWT has a wide range of applications from plantar fasciitis to Achilles tendonitis and heel spurs.
Why should I have ESWT?
If other treatments, such as orthotics and physiotherapy, have not yielded promising results for you, consider ESWT. This minimally invasive treatment is conducted on an outpatient basis so that you can return home the same day! Furthermore, it has been proven to help provide relief from pain and other symptoms associated with your condition.
Before shockwave therapy is even considered, you will experience a thorough clinical assessment. This examination includes an observation of your gait and joint alignment in an effort to capture a film of the same, as well as any potential need for referral scans such as MRI or ultrasound.
What are the risks/side effects?
Though treatment can be slightly uncomfortable, it’s nothing you won’t be able to handle. You may experience post-treatment symptoms such as pain, redness, bruising, swelling, and numbness in the treated area – all of which should fade within a week before your next session. Though uncommonly seen, there is an inherent risk of tendon or ligament rupture or soft tissue damage with this type of procedure.
Before your treatment begins, you’ll be requested to fill out a questionnaire. After three months and again after one year of receiving the treatment, you’ll also need to complete another set of queries.
ESWT should be avoided during pregnancy, if you have a blood clotting disorder, or are on particular medications. Also, those with pre-existing medical conditions should refrain from this treatment.
Your Podiatrist will inform you of the advantages and possible risks associated with this treatment. Be sure to ask them any questions or express any concerns that may arise if more in-depth details are needed.
Related: What can a Professional Podiatrist do for Plantar Fasciitis?
How can I prepare for Shockwave Therapy?
- You must commit to the entire duration of treatment for the best results.
- To ensure a successful recovery, it is essential that you avoid taking any NSAIDs such as ibuprofen for two weeks prior to and until after your procedure.
- To ensure that none of your medications contain NSAIDs, consult with a doctor, Podiatrist, or pharmacist. To maximize your comfort during the treatment procedure, it is recommended to wear comfortable clothing as you will be lying on your stomach.
What happens during ESWT?
To begin the ESWT treatment, you will lie on your stomach with a pillow placed beneath your legs. Next, the therapist will apply some ultrasound gel to the injured area and press the device’s handpiece against it. Utilizing compressed air pulses through an ultrasound gel base, this procedure can be quickly completed in five minutes or less.
Related: Best Treatments for Heel Pain
Will I feel any pain?
Although most people experience some level of discomfort during the procedure, you will be asked to rate your pain. We’ll do our best to adjust the treatment accordingly and provide relief if needed. If necessary, an injection of local anesthesia can be administered for maximum comfort throughout the process.
What happens after ESWT?
After receiving the shockwave treatment, you’ll be able to stand and walk instantly. If uneasiness or discomfort lingers afterward, an over-the-counter pain reliever such as paracetamol can offer relief; however, avoid anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and icing techniques since they may interfere with your body’s natural healing process.
What do I need to do after I go home?
You are able to resume your regular activities instantly and can go back to work immediately. However, we strongly urge you not to take part in any intense or painful activity or high-impact exercise for 48 hours after the procedure. If you feel sudden pain in the area of treatment or a decrease in function, please contact Fitter Feet for life right away so that it can be examined by an experienced Podiatrist.
Related: Heel Pain when Walking Treatment
In conclusion, ESWT is a safe and effective treatment for many foot and ankle conditions. While it does come with some risks and side effects, the benefits of this procedure far outweigh any potential negatives. If you are considering shockwave therapy as an option for your injury or condition, make sure to consult with your doctor first and then seek help from an experienced Podiatrist who can provide the best treatment options for your individual needs. With a dedicated commitment to following all post-treatment instructions, you should be able to experience effective relief from pain and improved function over time.