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If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, a foot problem characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia (the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes), you know the discomfort the condition can cause. The condition causes pain under the heel bone and foot arch, especially after prolonged walking or standing. When conventional treatments are ineffective at minimizing symptoms and healing the plantar fascia, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) can be an excellent solution.

ESWT delivers shock waves to the plantar fascia tissue, causing micro-trauma in the tissue. The micro-trauma prompts the body’s natural healing response, replacing the damaged plantar fascia tissue with new, healthy tissue. As a result, the ESWT procedure can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and improve the foot’s functioning.

Reasons for ESWT

Generally speaking, ESWT is recommended for individuals with plantar fasciitis whose symptoms have become unmanageable. It is also recommended when conventional plantar fasciitis treatments (i.e. anti-inflammatory medications, heat and cold treatments, shoe inserts, and physical therapy) have been ineffective. In addition, many patients choose ESWT as a less-invasive alternative to heel surgery.

The ESWT procedure

ESWT is administered in low- and high-wave treatments. The low-wave treatments are administered first, in a series of three or more sessions. Low-wave ESWT treatments typically cause little or no discomfort. If the low-wave treatments do not provide the desired effect, the high-wave treatments are administered (in one session). The high-wave treatments can cause significant discomfort, so general or regional anesthesia is usually necessary.

If you have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis or are suffering from chronic arch or heel pain, contact your doctor to obtain more information on your treatment options, including extracorporeal shock wave therapy. With the help of a skilled foot care specialist, you can enjoy improved foot functionality.