Plantar fasciitis often heals slowly over time with rest and physical therapy. However, in some cases, plantar fasciitis pain may become chronic, or the pain might be so bad that you have difficulty keeping up with your usual activities. Your podiatrist might recommend extracorporeal shock wave therapy to treat your foot condition so you can avoid surgery and pain injections. Here's an overview of how extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) works.
ESWT Stimulates Healing
Plantar fasciitis often takes weeks to heal, and one reason is the low amount of blood flow in the bottom of your foot. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy stimulates blood flow, and this helps speed up healing. In addition, the shock waves stimulate the regeneration of tissues, which helps the healing process even more.
ESWT Provides Pain Relief
Another effect of shock waves is that it provides pain relief. You may notice immediate relief after one treatment session. The shock waves are directed at the painful area on your heel to provide targeted relief. Even though you might feel better after one session, your podiatrist might recommend multiple sessions to ensure your foot heals completely.
Shock Wave Treatments Are Easy To Endure
There are different types of machines that deliver these treatments, so the procedure you go through depends on the equipment your podiatrist has in the office. Low energy waves work to relieve pain while high energy waves work to regenerate damaged tissues. Your podiatrist might offer one or both types of treatments.
The shock waves are delivered to your foot with a probe or by positioning your foot on a cushioned area of the equipment. Treatments last several minutes, and they shouldn't cause too much discomfort. If necessary, the podiatrist can use a local anesthetic to keep the area numb.
The shock waves can be adjusted for strength and depth so they target the damaged area along your heel where you experience pain. When the treatment is over, you can walk on your foot and go about your usual activities.
There is no incision involved, and no intense recovery period is needed. However, it takes time for your plantar fasciitis to heal, and during that time, your activities will probably be limited so you don't slow down the healing process.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy has benefits over surgery since no incision is necessary. It also has benefits over corticosteroid injections that can damage your fascia. ESWT could be a treatment option to consider when you're tired of the constant pain of plantar fasciitis. Your podiatrist can determine if shock wave therapy is right for you considering your foot condition and other medical problems you might have.
For more information about plantar fasciitis and potential treatments, contact your podiatrist.