Can you imagine feeling a sharp pain in your foot the moment you wake up? This is what living with plantar fasciitis feels like every single day.
Many people suffer from heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis and other conditions. These conditions can cause significant discomfort and make it difficult to walk, exercise, or even stand for long periods of time.
For those seeking relief from heel pain and plantar fasciitis, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) provides the answer. Quickly gaining traction as one of the most popular treatments due to its non-invasive style and proven results, let’s dive into how ESWT works!
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis can cause extreme distress in the heel area. Your plantar fascia is a thick and resilient ligament that works as an anchor between your heel and toes, giving you the stability to stand or walk comfortably by absorbing shocks from impact.
Plantar fasciitis is a frequent orthopedic problem, and your plantar fascia ligaments are subject to daily use and strain. When too much weight is put on the feet, it can lead to tears in the ligaments or cause them to become weakened. Consequently, inflammation develops which causes throbbing pain in addition to rigidity of the heel.
While the exact cause of plantar fasciitis and its associated discomfort remains unknown, a 2003 study proposed that it may involve degeneration rather than inflammation. This means that “plantar fasciosis” could be more accurate than “plantar fasciitis”, as “fascia” denotes inflammation.
Related article about heel pain.
What are the primary symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
For those who suffer from plantar fasciitis, pain is the primary complaint. Pain typically radiates along the bottom of your heel or possibly in your mid-foot region, and can present unilaterally or bilaterally.
Plantar fasciitis can produce a wide array of discomfort, including dull or intense pain, burning sensations, and ache on the sole of your foot spreading outwards from the heel. This sensitivity builds up with time if left untreated.
When you first arise from bed or if you’ve been sedentary for a period of time, the pain may be particularly severe. Additionally, climbing steps can prove to be arduous due to your heel’s stiffness and rigidity.
Aching and irritation can increase after extended activity, leading to flare-ups of pain in those suffering from plantar fasciitis. Contrarily, the pain isn’t usually felt while performing activities but is instead only experienced once ceasing movement has occurred.
Related: Prevent Further Injury: When to Consider Using ESWT for Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain Treatment in 2023
What causes plantar fasciitis and who gets it?
Contrary to popular belief, plantar fasciitis is not caused by heel spurs. Many physicians formerly held the assumption that heel spurs triggered pain in people suffering from plantar fasciitis; however, this has since been disproven.
Overstretching and overuse of the plantar fascia ligament, as well as a tear or tears in the tissue, can all lead to painful Plantar Fasciitis. An individual’s foot structure may also render them particularly prone to developing this condition.
People aged 40 to 70, particularly those who are active, are the most vulnerable demographic for experiencing plantar fasciitis. Women tend to be slightly more prone than men and pregnant women can experience this condition during the late stages of pregnancy.
Are you at risk of developing plantar fasciitis? You might be if:
- If you are overweight or have obesity, your plantar fascia ligaments may be placed under immense strain, particularly if you gain weight quickly.
- Are a long-distance runner.
- If you’re employed in an occupation where constant physical activity is expected, such as a server or factory worker.
- If you suffer from structural foot problems, like high arches or flat feet.
- have tight Achilles tendons.
- often use shoes with soft soles and poor arch support.
How do doctors diagnose plantar fasciitis?
To assess the location and intensity of your foot pain, your doctor will administer a physical examination. This is vital to ruling out any underlying causes for this discomfort and ensuring that it isn’t due to an unrelated issue.
As you undergo the evaluation, your physician may ask you to tense your foot as they press on the plantar fascia. This helps them observe if there is an increase in pain when flexing and a decrease in pain when pointing their toe. Furthermore, they look for any signs of mild redness or swelling around the area.
To evaluate the strength of your muscles and assess the health of your nerves, your doctor will carry out a physical examination that may include:
- muscle tone
- sense of touch and sight
ESWT as treatment
ESWT is a safe, non-invasive procedure that has been used to treat various musculoskeletal conditions since the 1980s. According to research published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, ESWT uses focused sound waves to break down scar tissue in the affected area of your foot. This process relieves pressure on the affected nerve and helps reduce heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. In addition, ESWT can also help reduce swelling in the foot and improve flexibility.
Related: Best Treatments for Heel Pain
Additionally, Shockwave Therapy is an advanced, scientifically-backed method of treating injuries such as Plantar Fasciitis. The treatment involves the use of a machine that sends low-energy sound waves through your skin to the afflicted area, reducing pain and spurring faster healing times. Evidence has demonstrated that Shockwave Therapy can:
- Enhancing circulation to nearby tissues for improved health and function.
- Igniting the curative power of Stem Cells for accelerated recovery.
- By suppressing the activity of some nerve fibers, Pain is substantially reduced.
In conclusion, plantar fasciitis is a common and painful foot condition that can be caused by overstretching of the ligaments in the feet as well as structural problems with one’s feet. Shockwave Therapy has been found to be an effective treatment for this condition, providing temporary pain relief and helping to speed up healing times. It is important to speak with a medical professional if you are experiencing any foot pain so that the cause can be identified and treated accordingly. Pain management and lifestyle modifications may also help to reduce symptoms of plantar fasciitis. By recognizing the risk factors associated with this condition, you can take measures to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Learn more about heel pain on our blogs!