Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain that can be difficult to treat. While there are many different treatments available, shockwave therapy (ESWT) has become an increasingly popular option due to its success in treating chronic heel pain. This blog post will explore the benefits of ESWT for plantar fasciitis and heel pain treatment, as well as when you should consider using it.
Plantar fasciitis & ESWT
The plantar fascia, the thick tissue that connects your heel bone to the toes and creates an arch along the bottom of your foot, can occasionally become swollen or irritated. When this happens, we call it plantar fasciitis: a condition that affects many people worldwide.
Related article about heel pain.
If the fascia tissue on the soles of your feet is stretched too far or used excessively, it can cause swelling and make movement an uncomfortable experience.
You are at a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis if you:
- Have foot arch problems.
- Run long distances, downhill, uneven or hard surfaces.
- Are obese or have a sudden weight gain
- Have a tight Achilles tendon.
- Wear shoes with poor arch support or soft soles.
- Sudden change in your activity level.
Plantar fasciitis affects both males and females alike and is arguably one of the most prevalent orthopedic foot issues to date.
It was once accepted that plantar fasciitis had a direct correlation to heel spurs, yet recent research has debunked this myth. X-rays have shown the presence of spine spurs when there is no sign of inflammation related to plantar fasciitis; therefore disproving any connection between the two conditions.
Related: Get Out of Pain and be Back on Your Feet: A Practical Roadmap For Dealing with Plantar Fascia Issues via ESWT
The most frequent indication of the condition is aching or burning in your heel, which might be mild or severe. Stiffness and soreness could also occur on the bottom part of your foot.
The pain is frequently unbearable:
- In the morning when you take your first few steps
- After remaining stationary for a while
- When ascending stairs
- After intense activity
- During walking, running, and jumping sports
The agony may creep in slowly over a period of time or abruptly arise after strenuous activity.
If you’re suffering from pain and soreness in the arch of your foot or heel, then it’s likely that you may have a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This is caused by inflammation of the tissue connecting your toes to your heel bone – also referred to as plantar fascia – which forms the arch of your foot.
Plantar fasciitis is a chronic condition caused by excessive stretching or overuse of the ligament in your foot. It can be quite painful and make it hard for one to walk, so how do you know if you have plantar fasciitis? You will likely experience discomfort as well as tightness at the bottom of your feet or heel. The symptoms may vary from dull to sharp pain, accompanied by an aching sensation that may sometimes burn on impact.
The discomfort of plantar fasciitis can be especially excruciating when you take those first steps in the morning, stand or sit for a prolonged period, climb stairs, or exercise. Your doctor will likely examine your foot to assess any tenderness, swelling, redness, and stiffness that might indicate this condition.
For relief from your pain and swelling, the doctor may recommend you take ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). Additionally, stretching exercises for your heel can help with healing. Furthermore, rest as much as possible for at least a week to aid in recovery time. Wearing shoes with good support will also provide comfort and stability. Last but not least is applying ice on the impacted area twice daily—ten to 15 minutes each session—which has been found extremely beneficial!
To alleviate your pains, a heel cup or felt pads in the area of discomfort might be helpful. Besides that, stretching and splinting at night could potentially aid in mending injured fascia as well. If these tactics don’t bring success, consulting with a doctor is highly advised; they may suggest wearing a boot cast for three to six weeks, getting custom-made shoe inserts called orthotics fitted to you personally, or even having steroid shots injected into your heel! As an extreme measure when all else fails – surgery on the tight tissue within the foot can be done too.
The great news is that non-surgical treatments are proven to reduce pain. On average, the treatment usually lasts from several months up to two years until symptoms improve; yet most people see significant improvements within nine months or less.
Related: What is the Treatment for Heel Pain
Treatment: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT)
Shockwave therapy (ESWT) has emerged as a possible treatment option for patients with chronic tendon problems. The procedure uses either pressurized air or electromagnetic pulses to deliver shock waves to the body to help treat a variety of chronic disorders, such as plantar fasciitis.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive, safe procedure that requires no anesthetic, medication, or surgery.
Extracorporeal, which means outside of the body, use a unique machine to produce powerful shockwaves. These sound waves – not electrical impulses – are directed through your skin and into the affected area of your foot with a hand-held device.
Shockwaves stimulate blood circulation to the site of discomfort, jump-starting your body’s natural healing and accelerating it. Additionally, shockwave therapy may desensitize nerve endings in the affected area and break down hardened scar tissue for improved comfort.
In conclusion, plantar fasciitis is a chronic and painful condition that affects many people. It can be treated with a variety of non-surgical methods, such as rest, stretching exercises, ibuprofen, footwear support, and ice therapy. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) may also provide relief from the discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis. With proper treatment, most people can recover from their symptoms in nine months or less. Remember to consult a doctor if your pain persists, as they will be able to provide the best advice for your individual case.