Tendons are fibrous connective tissues that connect your muscles to your bones, and believe it or not, there are over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments in your feet. Unfortunately, overuse or too much joint strain can make your tendons inflamed. This is known as tendinitis, and it’s a painful condition that can affect any tendon from your elbow to your knees to your feet.
Inflammation can affect any tendon in your foot, but the most common are Achilles, peroneal, extensor, and posterior tibial tendons.
Regardless of which tendon issues you’re having, our team of specialists at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, know that tendon issues can quickly make each and every step oh-so-painful. That’s why we offer radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy to our patients in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.
How shockwave therapy can help your tendon issues
Shock wave therapy is a non-surgical procedure that promotes soft tissue healing through the use of high-energy sound waves. These sound waves — often referred to as shock waves — stimulate fibroblasts, which are special cells found in connective tissues. These cells are responsible for the healing of connective tissues like tendons.
As your fibroblasts are stimulated, the local nerve endings become overwhelmed, which leads to a short-term reduction in pain. This phenomenon is known as hyperstimulation anesthesia and helps to account for the pain relief associated with shockwave therapy.
Not only does shockwave therapy help reduce tendon pain, but it also helps promote healing. The sound wave energy increases the blood flow to your tendons. In turn, the Increased blood flow supports tissue regeneration — a natural part of the healing process.
Is shockwave therapy right for you?
Mild tendinitis may respond to at-home treatments, including the RICE — rest, ice, compression, elevation — protocol, but sometimes tendonitis needs a little bit more. You may also try pain medication, physical therapy, or even steroids. You might consider shockwave therapy if:
- You’ve tried stretching, physical therapy, and at-home treatments without improvement
- You don’t have any of the contraindications listed for shockwave therapy, including being pregnant, having a clotting disorder, or having an open wound on your foot
If your Manhattan Podiatry Associates provider determines that shockwave therapy is the right solution for you, you’ll get started with your therapy. Much like an ultrasound, shock wave therapy is performed using ultrasound gel — which enables the sound waves to travel more efficiently to your inflamed tendons — and a handheld device that emits pulses of sound energy.
Most people describe shockwave therapy as small pulses against your skin, and you may find that stretching afterward helps to reduce some discomfort.
Benefits of shockwave therapy for tendon pain
One of the most alluring benefits of shockwave therapy is that there isn’t extensive downtime. You can walk immediately after your session, although you should refrain from vigorous activity for a few days to help promote healing.
Other reasons to consider shockwave therapy include:
- It’s clinically demonstrated to reduce pain and improve the functionality of tendons
- It’s non-surgical and doesn’t require incisions or injections
- It doesn’t involve the use of synthetic ingredients, so there’s no risk of allergies (it’s all just sound energy)
You might not think much about your tendons until they hurt, but the good news is that our team is here to help alleviate your pain. To find out if shockwave therapy is the right treatment for your tendon issues, call one of our two convenient New York City locations today. You can also book an appointment online.