If you have plantar fasciitis, you know that this condition can cause heel pain with each step you take. Your plantar fascia is a thick tendon, and when it becomes overstretched or torn, it can limit your mobility and keep you from your favorite activities.
But there’s hope! Our team of specialists at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, are no strangers to plantar fasciitis. In addition to providing lifestyle modifications that alleviate heel pain, we also offer radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy.
Here’s what you need to know about shock wave therapy.
What is shock wave therapy?
Shock wave therapy goes by many names: shockwave treatment, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), and even just shock wave therapy. Regardless of what you call it, this conservative procedure is designed to treat plantar fasciitis. During the therapy, shock waves 一 high energy sound waves 一 are targeted at the soft tissues on your heel and plantar fascia. The therapy is 100% noninvasive and nonsurgical. Many people describe the shocks as little “pings.”
How does it work?
Shock wave therapy has two goals:
- To promote healing
- To reduce pain and sensitivity
To promote healing, each shock wave increases the blood flow to your plantar fascia. Increased blood flow helps with the healing process, promotes tissue regeneration, and reduces pain. Shock wave therapy also reduces pain by overstimulating the nerves that send pain messages.
During your therapy, you lay on your stomach. Ultrasound gel is applied to your foot to help the sound waves travel more efficiently to your plantar fascia. Your Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, provider holds a hand-held device over your foot and administers the shock waves in pulses. You may hear a tapping noise from the machine.
What to expect after shock wave therapy
Shock wave therapy doesn’t have extensive downtime. In fact, you’ll be able to walk and even return to work after your session. You should plan on resting from intense activity for a few days to support the healing process. Once your treatment is over, we provide specific instructions which may include:
- When you can return to running
- How long to refrain from using ice
- Which over-the-counter pain medications are recommended
You may also find that gentle stretching can help alleviate discomfort.
Is shock wave therapy right for you?
Shock wave therapy can be a first line defense for plantar fasciitis, especially if you've tried other options such as orthotics, stretching, exercise modifications, physical therapy, or night splints without improvement. Shock wave therapy isn’t right for pregnant women, people with clotting disorders, or anyone with an open wound on their foot.
If your heel hurts from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, it’s time to explore your plantar fasciitis treatment options. To find out if shock wave therapy is right for you, call us or use our online scheduling tool to book an appointment today.