Shockwave Treatment For Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinopathy

What is Extracorporeal Radial Shockwave Therapy? Extracorporeal Radial Shockwave Therapy is a series of high-energy impulses to the affected area.

Plantar Fasciitis (sometimes called plantar fasciosis)

Today, the first line of treatment in cases of plantar fasciitis to be considered is Shock Wave Therapy.  I have been using this treatment mode for many months and have found it to be of great benefit to my patients allowing them to regain their mobility and to resume activities they had put off due to pain in their feet.

Probably the most common cause of pain in the heel results from damage to the tissue band (fascia) connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes. It tends to be painful when you take your first steps after resting and especially when getting out of bed in the morning. This condition can occur in all age groups.

I often included stretching exercises and, if appropriate, shoe inserts designed to alter foot function which will reduce the tension within (and thereby injury to) the plantar fascia. Soft heel cushions rarely help plantar fasciitis. The intension is to improve the way in which the patient’s feet are functioning in order to address

The treatment produces an inflammatory response in the area where the shock wave is applied.  The body responds by increasing metabolic activity around the site of pain and as a result this stimulates and accelerates the healing process.  In addition, Shockwave breaks down scar tissue and possibly calcification as well and the transmission of pain is blocked by the elimination of P substance.

  • I would say that the benefits of Shockwave therapy are that it stimulates the body’s natural healing process. There is an immediate reduction of pain and improved case of movement. Secondary or side effects are minor. Shockwave therapy may also reduce the chance of further surgery.
  • Each treatment lasts approximately 5 minutes and 2000 shocks are delivered per session. We recommend three treatments at weekly intervals; however additional treatments may be needed depending upon the issue and severity.
  • During the treatment you may feel some discomfort or pain – pain tolerance varies from patient to patient.  We can adjust the settings to manage this.
  • Generally, there will be immediate pain relief, but there may be some discomfort experienced 2-4 hours after treatment.

The shockwave will trigger an inflammatory response, we advise patients not use anti-inflammatory medications only paracetamol if needed.  Do not use ice as we want our bodies to trigger the natural healing response. The pain should subside within 24 hours. Patients often find relief after the treatment but we tend to advise rest for the following day.

Although the immediate to short-term effects alone are excellent, long-term effects of shockwave therapy can take up to 4 months. Depending upon the issue it may require further sessions to obtain the desired effect of pain relief and return of proper function.


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