Heal Plantar Fasciitis Pain with Shockwave Therapy
This non-surgical treatment helps the body heal itself.
Have you noticed a sharp, stabbing pain at the bottom of your heel as you get up to go to the bathroom in the morning? Does the pain ease as you walk around a bit? If so, you might have plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is a very common cause of heel pain in the United States. About two million Americans are treated for this condition every year, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Approximately ten percent of all Americans will suffer from plantar fasciitis in their lifetime.1
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fan-shaped tissue located in the bottom of the foot — or the plantar fascia, becomes inflamed. This thick belt of connective tissue connects your heel bone to your toes and also helps maintain the shape of your foot arch. So, when it becomes strained due to plantar fasciitis, it leads to a sharp, stabbing pain that is worse first thing in the morning when you take your first steps. Since the condition tends to ease as the day goes on, many people ignore the pain. However, the longer that this condition goes untreated, the more likely the pain is to become chronic. Plus, this can lead to weakness, which can eventually impact your walking.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Sometimes, plantar fasciitis develops for no identifiable reason. There are many things that likely contribute to the condition. Some of the things that increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Regularly wearing unsupportive shoes
- Frequent running
- Overuse from high-impact exercise
- Having a job that requires a lot of walking
- Standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time
- Having a naturally high arch
Why Is It So Hard To Get Relief?
You may have already tried some of the typical recommendations for plantar fasciitis, such as icing the area or performing stretches. These treatments often do not work for the condition, which is not really surprising when you think about how much time you spend on your feet each day. With other injuries, you can easily rest the affected area, however, you can’t really rest an aching heel especially if your job involves a lot of walking or standing. This can cause the condition to linger.
Some doctors recommend anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve or Advil, however, these drugs could have serious side effects and so taking them long-term is not recommended. Since plantar fasciitis is rather persistent, these drugs are usually not the answer for long-term relief.
Shockwave Therapy For Plantar Fasciitis
In the past, if the above conservative treatment options didn’t work, you were limited to steroid injections, custom orthotics, or invasive surgeries for plantar fasciitis. Steroid injections reduce swelling and inflammation immediately. However, these cannot be used over the long-term as they can cause the tendon to become weakened. Custom orthotics can help relieve pain associated with plantar fasciitis. For the orthotics to work, you must wear a special shoe with an insert. You may not want to wear the same shoe all of the time. Invasive surgery carries a risk of serious side effects, and it may actually even weaken the arch of your foot. Surgery also requires a long downtime, which means lots of missed days from work. Fortunately, there’s a new, non-invasive FDA-approved treatment for this condition called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy or ESWT. This state-of-the-art treatment is less risky than surgery. And, it doesn’t require a long recovery period.
Shockwave therapy is a gentle, quick non-surgical treatment that helps eliminate heel pain from plantar fasciitis. This treatment is currently one of the most advanced and highly-effective therapy available for plantar fasciitis. ESWT is both effective and safe. It has been approved by the FDA based on results from randomized double-blinded scientific studies.2 Shockwave therapy has one of the highest levels of effectiveness of any current treatment for plantar fasciitis.3
How Does It Work?
The plantar fascia is located in an area of the foot that doesn’t normally get a lot of blood flow, which is why it can take a long time for that area to heal. Shockwave therapy heals plantar fasciitis for good by helping the body heal the inflammation and trauma to the plantar fascia.
During shockwave therapy, a special probe is used to deliver pressure waves to the skin. These waves travel throughout the skin until they reach inflamed tissue. They trigger the body's natural healing process, which causes new blood vessels to form. This increases the oxygen and blood supply in the area, resulting in decreased inflammation and the regeneration of healthy cells. The process also helps your body produce collagen, which is vital to the health of connective tissue. The procedure is quick and easy. It usually takes just four visits and most patients experience pain relief immediately.
Here is an overview:
- Locate the inflamed area.The doctor will start by finding the tender area on your heel. Then, the area is marked with an “X” with a marker.
- Apply gel to the skin. The gel helps enable the acoustic waves to access your inflamed tissues.
- Treat the fascia with a shockwave probe. A probe that is attached to the shockwave machine is applied to the skin. This sends shock waves deep into the soft tissue of the plantar fascia.
- Wipe the gel off. Finally, the gel is wiped off your foot and the procedure is finished. This entire process usually takes less than 20 minutes in total.
To see Dr. Neuhaus perform the procedure, check out this video.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that patients have about the procedure.
How Soon Will I Feel Relief?
Some patients experience immediate pain relief from plantar fasciitis symptoms. For others, it can take two to four hours after the procedure for the soreness to subside.
How Many Treatments Are Needed?
We recommend a minimum of four weekly treatments. Otherwise, you may not see results.
Is Anesthesia Needed?
Shockwave therapy is non-invasive and painless. It is done right in the office and anesthesia is not necessary.
How Long Is Recovery Time?
There is no downtime or recovery time needed. You can go back to your normal activities as soon as you walk out of the office.
Is Shockwave Therapy Right For Everyone?
Unfortunately, shockwave therapy is not right for everyone. This therapy is not recommended if you have:
- Heel pain due to a malignant (cancerous) tumor.
- A blood circulation disorder.
- An infection.
Shockwave therapy is affordable compared products like The Good Feet Store's 3-Step System for orthotics. some of the other treatments for plantar fasciitis. At Neuhaus Foot & Ankle, Shockwave therapy is just $100 per treatment with a minimum of four treatments. For most patients, four treatments are needed to see results. However, if more than four treatments are needed, the cost is only $100 per additional treatment. This is a low price to pay for the long-term relief of pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Plus, with shockwave therapy, you don’t have to worry about the cost of taking time off work as there is virtually no downtime with this treatment.
Shockwave therapy to treat heel pain is relatively new so it is not available everywhere. We offer this advanced treatment for plantar fasciitis here at Neuhaus Foot & Ankle. Our doctors have used shockwave therapy to treat many patients who have plantar fasciitis. Our results with this treatment have been phenomenal. The majority of our patients treated with shockwave therapy experience long-term relief. Start your journey towards a pain-free stride. Call us today to get an exclusive offer and save money on shockwave therapy.
- The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
- U.S. Food And Drug Administration
- The Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery