Are you suffering from foot pain? You have a lot of company. 80% of Americans will have foot pain at some point in their lives, and for many of these people, their symptoms are severe enough to make even simple tasks like walking and climbing stairs extremely painful.
Heel pain is a common reason why people visit a podiatrist, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and for most people, that means one of two conditions is present: plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. The team at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, offers an array of treatments for foot and heel pain, including state-of-the-art extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). Here’s how it works.
Two common causes of foot pain
In order to understand how ESWT works, it’s important to learn how plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis occur and why they cause such painful symptoms.
The plantar fascia is a thick, strong band of fibrous tissue that extends from the base of your big toe down to your heel. This band helps support the arch of your foot and also enables your foot to move and be flexible.
As we get older, the plantar fascia can start to get worn and irritated. Over time, tiny tears can form, along with painful inflammation. This is plantar fasciitis, and it’s the leading cause of heel pain, affecting more than 2 million Americans each year.
In addition to age, other factors that can cause or contribute to plantar fasciitis include:
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Spending long periods of time standing
- Wearing shoes with inadequate support
- Unusual foot shape or gait
- Running or other high-impact activities
Painful symptoms occur around the heel and along the bottom of the foot, and they’re most common when getting up in the morning or after a period of sitting and resting. Research shows ESWT can be very effective in treating chronic plantar fasciitis symptoms, including for people in whom other conservative options haven’t worked.
Located at the back of your heel, your Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body. This tendon connects your heel to your calf muscle, and it plays a critical role in many foot movements, including walking. Achilles tendonitis occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed, usually as a result of overuse or repetitive use.
With Achilles tendonitis, pain centers around the back of the heel. There may also be swelling and tenderness in and around the tendon. Without treatment, tendonitis can progress to a more serious and more difficult to treat condition called tendinosis.
How ESWT relieves foot pain
ESWT uses precise waves of energy to penetrate your foot, targeting the damaged tissues to promote natural healing responses. Each wave of energy creates “controlled microtrauma” to the tissues, stimulating your body to respond by repairing or replacing damaged tissue. At the same time, therapy increases blood flow to the area for enhanced delivery of oxygen and nutrients necessary for healing.
During treatment, the ESWT device is placed directly over the site of pain, sending healing energy directly to the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and surrounding areas of inflammation. Treatments are performed on an outpatient basis and can be repeated, based on your specific symptoms and treatment goals.
ESWT typically is used after more conservative treatments, like ice, stretching, and medication, have failed to provide long-term relief. Our team will be able to tell if ESWT is right for you after reviewing your symptoms, your medical history, and other factors.
Get relief for your foot pain
With locations in Midtown Manhattan and Downtown Manhattan, we make it easy and convenient for New York City patients to get the care they need to relieve chronic foot pain symptoms. To learn how we can help you, call the office or book an appointment online today.