Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: What to Expect

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: What to Expect

When you have plantar fasciitis, stabbing foot pain lets you know about the chronic inflammation in your feet’s connective tissues. This condition occurs when the tissues that connect your front foot to your heel become inflamed. It’s a common cause of heel pain in adults.

At Town Center Foot & Ankle, expert podiatrist Dr. Stephen Eichelsdorfer diagnoses and treats plantar fasciitis in new and existing patients. Dr. Ike, as he is known, offers treatments and therapies for plantar fasciitis from our two locations, in Kingwood and Atascocita, Texas.

One of the tools that Dr. Ike might use to address your plantar fasciitis and restore your foot health is extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), a promising noninvasive treatment option. 

Here’s what you can expect from ESWT treatment at Town Center Foot & Ankle.

When you need shock wave treatment

Shock wave treatment may sound dramatic, but this treatment option actually offers you a conservative, noninvasive way to address plantar fasciitis.

If you have plantar fasciitis, your plantar fascia becomes inflamed. This condition can result from such causes as overuse or overstretching. Your plantar fascia can even experience tiny tears due to repetitive stress.

When Dr. Eichelsdorfer identifies the source of your persistent foot and heel pain as plantar fasciitis, he suggests a treatment plan to address the problem. Your treatment plan may include custom orthotics, physical therapy, and strategies for pain management. 

He recommends ESWT after conservative treatment options like rest, but before surgical treatment. Dr. Ike only recommends surgery for plantar fasciitis if first-line treatment options like ESWT fail to give you sufficient relief.

How ESWT works

As the name implies, extracorporeal shock wave therapy takes place outside your body, without any cutting of your skin or surgery. In ESWT, mechanical high-energy sound waves stimulate your heel and foot.

The treatment promotes healing, increasing blood flow to the soft tissues in the treated area and reducing inflammation. ESWT also decreases your pain levels right away, due to the way the treatment overstimulates your nerves.

What to expect during and after ESWT

When you come to us for ESWT, you lie on your stomach on the treatment bed. A pillow keeps your legs comfortably supported. If needed, Dr. Eichelsdorfer can administer local or sedation anesthesia to keep you pain- and stress-free during ESWT.

We apply ultrasound gel to your affected heel to enhance the effects of ESWT.

We use a hand-held device attached to the shock wave machine to administer the treatment. The hand-held probe releases intense pulses of compressed air. Treatment lasts for 10-20 minutes per foot.

ESWT can cause some discomfort, but this is an outpatient, nonsurgical procedure. You can head home right after your treatment session, and you’ll be able to walk and resume daily life activities.

Wait a few days before returning to strenuous activity. In the meantime, rest and stretch your foot as directed. You also need to avoid icing the treated area or taking anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin for at least two days.

You may need 2-3 treatment sessions for best results.

To find out if ESWT could be the right treatment for your plantar fasciitis and to learn more about the treatment process, contact Dr. Ike and our team at Town Center Foot & Ankle in Kingwood and Atascocita, Texas. Schedule your appointment online or over the phone.

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