Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the plantar fascia – a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot and connects it to your heel bone. It may cause intense discomfort in your heels, particularly when you get up in the morning.
To date, traditional treatments for plantar fasciitis have included rest, physical therapy, and medication. However, shockwave therapy has become much more prevalent over the last few decades as a viable treatment option.
Shockwave therapy is an effective, non-invasive method that uses strong acoustic energy to encourage healing and alleviate pain. It has been used with great success in treating plantar fasciitis, leading many people away from the necessity for more invasive procedures like surgery; however, it must be noted that this treatment doesn’t work for every patient and results may vary.
Keep reading to discover the science behind shockwave therapy and how it works, as well as what kind of results you can anticipate.
What are the advantages of shockwave therapy in treating plantar fasciitis?
To initiate healing in an inflamed region of your body, a healthcare professional may use shockwave therapy. This method involves carefully sending penetrating waves of ultrasound energy through the affected area to cause minuscule trauma and stimulate the tissues into repair mode.
In reaction to shockwave therapy, the body may experience:
- Develop new vascular pathways to deliver more blood and nutrients directly to sites of inflammation.
- Feel the immediate relief of nerve-endings hyperstimulation for soothing pain.
- Dissolve calcifications.
- Maximize cell permeability to heighten the healing process.
Shockwave therapy is an excellent noninvasive option for anyone struggling with the effects of plantar fasciitis. Unlike medications or surgery, this treatment can dramatically reduce pain and other symptoms without any discomfort. Plus, it provides long-term relief rather than just a temporary solution as many treatments offer!
An examination conducted at the start of 2021 demonstrated that shockwave therapy is an effective approach to alleviating plantar fasciitis. Participants in this study experienced a substantial decrease in thickness and swelling around their plantar fascia after undergoing only four sessions of shockwave treatment, proving its efficacy as both a preventative and reactive measure when tackling foot-related issues.
Related article about heel pain.
Procedure for shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis.
Shockwave therapy is an excellent option if you are looking for a safe and noninvasive medical procedure. The treatment does not require any cutting or surgery, and it can be completed in one session as an outpatient appointment – once the procedure is finished, you will be able to go home without staying overnight at the hospital!
Before your shockwave procedure, there is usually no preparation required. However, since you will likely receive local anesthesia or a sedative during the appointment, it’s in your best interest to arrange for someone else to drive you home afterward.
Upon arriving at the medical facility for your treatment, here’s what you can anticipate from the procedure:
- You’ll need to take off your socks and shoes before proceeding.
- You will comfortably recline on a cushioned table, with your abdomen facing downwards and your legs supported by a plump pillow.
- To ensure your comfort during the procedure, you will be administered either a sedative or local anesthesia to your heels.
- For your comfort and convenience, a soothing ultrasound gel will be applied to the soles of your feet.
- A professional technician will utilize a specialized probe to deliver concentrated airwaves to your heels in order to shock them, resulting in maximum pain relief.
On average, each foot requires approximately 10 to 20 minutes of the procedure’s duration.
You may experience some minor discomfort as the shockwaves make their way through your heel. The number of sessions required will depend on how severe your plantar fasciitis pain is, but you could need up to four additional treatment sessions.
Related: Take Control of Your Heel Pain: A Guide to Treating Plantar Fasciitis with ESWT
How effective is shockwave therapy?
Studies show that shockwave therapy can provide relief for an impressive 44-80% of people who receive this treatment, making it a promising option for those looking to alleviate their symptoms.
Shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis has been demonstrated to be an efficient treatment option, according to a 2021 study. Although the outcomes fluctuate from individual to individual, evidence suggests it is capable of providing relief from this condition in many cases.
A 2020 study has discovered that Shockwave Therapy is correlated with a speedy decrease in pain. Data from various studies show that FSW and ESWT, especially, have the greatest success rate when it comes to diminishing symptoms according to 2017 research.
Countless people with plantar fasciitis who’ve tried shockwave therapy have experienced dramatic drops in pain, and multiple case studies attest to this.
Despite the extensive anecdotal evidence and stories of success, there is scant research to support these findings. Even studies focusing on the long-term effects of shockwave therapy remain inconclusive at this time.
A 2018 case-series study demonstrated that shockwave therapy may be more successful when paired with other treatments, like physical therapy. In fact, research reveals that the combination of these two therapies could potentially result in long-term and sustainable remedies for patients.
Related: No More Living with Heel Pain: ESWT, Reliable Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain
What are the pros and cons of shockwave therapy?
Shockwave therapy can be a potential game-changer for many people, yet it is also important to emphasize that this form of treatment may not always be the optimal solution.
The numerous perks of shockwave therapy include:
- This procedure is non-invasive and requires minimal preparation and post-treatment recovery time.
- Relieves pain expediently.
- Is deemed safe and reliable
- Compared to medication and surgical treatments, this procedure features a reduced risk of complications.
- can help people with plantar fasciitis avoid unnecessary surgery
Before considering shockwave therapy, there are a few potential drawbacks you should be aware of:
- Not everyone will find this to be a successful solution.
- Repeated treatments are often necessary in order to experience noteworthy results.
- Unfortunately, the majority of insurance companies offer zero coverage for shockwave therapy.
- Medical treatments can be exorbitant without the aid of insurance.
- Potential side effects may include short-term aches, bruises, inflammation, and tingling sensations.
In conclusion, Shockwave therapy is a promising and non-invasive option for those suffering from plantar fasciitis. This procedure has the potential to provide quick pain relief and may even offer longer-term remedies when coupled with other treatments like physical therapy. However, it’s important to consider both the benefits and drawbacks of shockwave therapy before investing in it. It is also important to remember that not everyone will find this treatment effective, and the cost can be prohibitive for those without insurance coverage. Consequently, individuals should seek professional medical advice before deciding on a course of action.