If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from heel pain, you may be considering surgical intervention. But did you know that there is a non-invasive treatment option that can relieve heel pain without the need for surgery? Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is an effective, non-invasive treatment for heel pain that has been used by medical practitioners around the world with great success. Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
What is plantar fasciitis and what does it feel like?
For those suffering from heel pain, plantar fasciitis is likely to blame — a common condition caused by inflammation in the foot’s plantar fascia.
Similar to a ligament, the plantar fascia is an incredibly resilient band of fibrous tissue that stretches from your heel through to the ball and toes of your foot. Acting like a strong rubber band, it connects all bones in your feet together while also forming the arch on its sole.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by an overstretching or excessive use of your plantar fascia, resulting in tissue swelling and causing immense amounts of pain when walking or using your foot. Generally, people experience this condition on one side at a time but it can affect both feet simultaneously as well.
If your heel or foot pain persists for over a week, be sure to visit a healthcare provider.
Plantar fasciitis is most commonly characterized by discomfort and pain in the heel or foot arch. Its intensity can vary depending on certain activities, how much movement you’re doing, or what time of day it happens to be. Here are some common sensations associated with this affliction:
- Sharp stabs of pain can be experienced when transitioning from a restful sleep or seating position, yet typically dissipates shortly after taking a few strides.
- A relentless, throbbing pain.
- If your heel is under pressure or you’re using the affected foot, sharp or stabbing pain may occur.
- Although exercising or stretching can provide temporary respite from your aches and pains, they are likely to return once you cease activity.
- Discomfort that intensifies in the morning or when transitioning from seated to standing positions? Sounds like you might be suffering from increased pain.
How common is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a prevalent issue, with an estimated 2 million people receiving treatment annually in the U.S., and roughly 1 out of 10 individuals will experience it over their lifetime.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, the most likely signs may include:
- Heel pain.
- Pain in the arch of your foot.
- Swelling around your heel.
- A tight Achilles tendon.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition caused by any type of irritation or damage to the plantar fascia, including:
- Working while standing for hours on end.
- Engaging in physical activity on a hard surface, such as the sidewalk or warehouse floor.
- Skipping stretching or warming up when exercising.
- Wearing ill-fitting footwear, such as flip flops or flat and pliable sneakers.
- Walking or standing barefoot while you’re at home.
Certain medical conditions can predispose you to plantar fasciitis, such as:
- High arch feet.
- Flat feet.
- Obesity (or gaining more than 15 pounds in a few months).
Treatment: What is ESWT?
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is an effective treatment to relieve heel pain without the need for surgery, delivering high-energy sound waves through a handheld device to the affected area. This stimulates healing and reduces inflammation in your tissues so that you can start feeling better quickly – most patients experience improved symptoms within two or three weeks of beginning therapy.
How Does ESWT relieve heel pain?
Through the use of ESWT, sound waves trigger a natural healing process within your body to enhance cellular repair and reduce inflammation in the heel area. Furthermore, it encourages increased blood flow and oxygenation while decreasing pain levels to improve mobility in this region. Additionally, accelerated recovery time is one of its many benefits after injury or surgery.
What are shock waves
Shock waves are powerful and audible soundwaves that can be found in our daily lives. Characterized by a sudden rise in pressure and brief duration, they are often encountered when an aircraft surpasses the speed of sound.
In 1980, the medical world was revolutionized by shock waves – a procedure that could treat kidney and gall stones without surgery. Shortly after its debut, doctors used shock waves to repair refractory bone fractures in patients suffering from Pseudarthroses. Shock wave therapy has drastically changed how we approach treatment for these ailments—no longer are surgeries considered the only option!
Taking advantage of these successful results, further research was conducted to explore the effects shockwaves had on the human body. It wasn’t long before it became clear that this method could effectively treat various painful musculoskeletal diseases as well. Throughout the 1990s, its application and importance have been growing exponentially—even in international sports! Needless to say, it has proven to be highly beneficial in many cases.
Today, medical professionals employ shock wave therapy to alleviate common orthopedic ailments such as tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, and plantar fasciitis. Depending on the necessity of the treatment, focused or radial shock waves (or both) may be used for optimal results.
Benefits of ESWT
ESWT offers an immense advantage over traditional treatments like surgery since it doesn’t necessitate any incisions or stitches. This results in a much swifter recovery than if you were to undergo surgery, thus allowing you to get back on your feet, return to work and carry out all of your normal activities with significantly less pain and discomfort.
Notably, since ESWT is not associated with any anesthesia used during the procedure, you can rest assured that there are no distressing side effects such as feeling nauseous or dizzy post-treatment. Furthermore, most insurance companies cover some of this treatment’s expenses making it a budget-friendly option wherein other treatments for heel pain may be too pricey.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) offers a safe and effective alternative to surgical intervention for those suffering from heel pain without unnecessary risk or downtime associated with surgery recovery periods. With its ability to combat inflammation and promote healing without invasive procedures or anesthesia use – all while being covered by most insurance plans – there’s no doubt that it should be considered when seeking relief from chronic heel pain. Talk to your doctor about whether this non-invasive treatment could be right for you!