ESWT: An Overview

The benefits of extracorporeal shock wave treatment (ESWT) for plantar fasciitis are broad and profound. ESWT can be effectively used in conjunction with other therapies to address acute and chronic soft tissue wounds as well. ESWT seems to work along many different pathways to facilitate healthy and complete healing. Among the benefits of ESWT are:

  • an increase in blood flow perfusion
  • epithelialization (reepithelialization) – covering the injury with new skin and mucous membranes
  • facilitation of wound closure
  • improved angiogenesis – formation of new blood vessels and capillaries
  • improved tissue granulation – the filling of the wounds
  • reduced necrotic fibrin tissue – dead tissue
  • reduction in duration of healing
  • reduction in the need for antibiotic use

Orthopedics Treatment

Musculoskeletal injuries are among the most common reasons for visiting a physician in the United States. More than 25% of Americans suffer from one kind of musculoskeletal impairment or another. This accounts for over 130 million doctor’s visits and $850 billion yearly. There is research currently underway examining the effectiveness of ESWT on these types of injuries. If successful, shock wave therapy could be added to the arsenal of effective, non-invasive treatments at physican’s disposal.  ESWT, Extracorporeal ShockWave Therapy, Shockwave therapy or lithotripsy, was originally developed by Dornier MedTech to break up kidney stones in the body. The therapy was approved by the FDA in the early 1980s and today is the standard treatment of choice for urinary stones. Because it’s delivered outside the body (extracorporeally), many of the risks associated with surgery are eliminated. In fact in ESWT or orthotripsy, the shock waves actually stimulate the body’s own repair mechanisms.

About the Treatment

The 1/2 hour visit starts with the area of pain being identified by the patient and usually confirmed with ultrasound imaging. That affected area is then lightly numbed and the patient is asked to sit on a exam table or chair. After a gel is applied to the foot and therapy head, the head’s water-filled cushion is placed against the foot. Shock waves are released from the device as Dr. Christina positions the foot. Shock wave therapy relieves pain and provides a short recovery period, with very few risks or side effects. Most patients are able to resume normal activity the next day.

What is extracorporeal shock wave therapy and how does it work?

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, also referred to as ESWT Philadelphia , is a nonsurgical method that delivers high-energy acoustic (sound) waves to a targeted area in order to to treat various musculoskeletal conditions, including plantar fasciitis. ESWT NYC works in 3 ways:

  1. Desensitization. Local anesthesia is administered prior to the procedure. However, the ESWT is a very powerful machine, and the targeted area will become increasingly desensitized throughout the procedure.
  2. It changes a chronic injury into an acute injury. Chronic injuries occur from overuse of an area of the body over an extended period of time. Plantar fasciitis is an example of chronic injury.
  3. Vascularization. During the ESWT procedure, microscopic and controlled injuries are induced. These injuries “jump start” the overall healing process by promoting the growth of new blood vessels in the achilles tendon (vascularization), and giving your body the tools that it needs to heal itself naturally.

Benefits of ESWT vs. Surgery

ESWT is a non-invasive procedure requiring only local anesthesia to the targeted treatment area.

Surgery is an invasive procedure where you will need to be placed completely under general anesthesia.

ESWT has little to no downtime, other than not participating in overly strenuous activities for 2-8 weeks following the procedure.

Following plantar fasciitis surgery, patients will be required to wear a protective boot and/or use crutches. The healing time following surgery is a minimum of 3 weeks +.

Physical therapy is not needed following the ESWT for plantar fasciitis

Several months of physical therapy is often required and needed following surgical correction.

While ESWT is not covered by most insurance companies, it is cost effective.

Surgical procedures can be very expensive, especially if a patient has a high deductible or poor health care coverage.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis (often referred to as a “heel spur”) is a common cause of heel pain and affects about 2.5 million people each year in the U.S. Historically, surgery was the only alternative when conservative treatments like ice, orthotics, physical therapy, medication and cortisone failed. Today, with Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT), that pain can be relieved with a gentle 18 minute treatment done right in the podiatrist’s office The muscle that stretches along the bottom of the foot (the plantar fascia) is responsible for maintaining the arch of your foot. This is the muscle that becomes inflamed or irritated.

Preventing Plantar Fasciitis Heel Pain Spur in Cranberry Township Pittsburgh Pa

What causes plantar fasciitis?

  • Common sports injuries
  • Overweight people (stand or walk frequently)
  • Flat or high-arched feet
  • Improper shoes
  • Frequent running on sand
  • Increasing age

Frequently Asked Questions

Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis

Sometimes plantar fasciitis can be hard to identify as it’s only symptom is pain the mid part of your feet or in your heel, you may feel pain in only one feet but it’s possible in both if both of your legs suffered from the equal pressure.

Plantar fasciitis is pain is usually serious in morning, when you take your first step out of the bed. This pain and discomfort subsides as you continue walking but returns if you take rest and start activities again.

It may be hard for you to climb stairs with plantar fasciitis but activities may relieve your pain, however after you stop the pain may return.

The pain will keep returning and going away until you don’t treat it!

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is really common problem and most of the time it is caused because of repetitive injuries on your fascia, which is a ligament in your heel.

There are many factors than can cause injuries to your fascia, these can include strenuous exercises or working on hard surfaces.

Furthermore, being over 40 highly increases your chances of increasing plantar fasciitis since at this age your fascia isn’t as strong as it used to be, which can make you more likely to develop this problem.

Lastly, if you are a women you are also at a risk of plantar fasciitis.

Do Children Get Plantar Fasciitis?

Yes, just like mentioned before everyone can get plantar fasciitis and kids aren’t an exception. However it’s not common in kids as much as adults and older people.

They may develop plantar fasciitis because of unsupportive shoes, injuries or playing too much. But the problem can be solved by applying ice and rest.

If the problem doesn’t go away then it’s time to look for a good doctor.

What Are Risk Factors Of Plantar Fasciitis?

Its true that plantar fasciitis can be developed without any obvious cause! but there are some risk factors that can make you more likely to develop plantar fasciitis, if you are wondering what are those risks then here are some of them:

1. Obesity

It’s the leading cause if plantar fasciitis in young people! Excess weight puts a lot of pressure on your feet which makes it really hard for your facial to maintain pressure, which results into plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is common in pregnant women too, but they don’t have to worry about it since once they are done with their pregnancy they won’t suffer from it again.

2. Aging

As we get older our body parts get older and weaker, which me and they can’t work the way they used too.

The same goes for our fascia too, so people over 40 are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis even if they don’t have any risk factors.

However, if you improve your blood circulation you can prevent more damage, so start working out.

3. Jobs That Doesn’t Provide Enough Rest To Your Feet

Jobs like teaching, nursing, or factory work requires standing for a long duration, sometimes all the day.

Standing for too long will put pressure on your feet which may stretch your fascia as well and if you don’t give enough rest to your legs then you may develop plantar fasciitis.

So try to take rest if you do such kind of jobs!

4. Heavy Exercises

Exercises are good but not if they are high impact ones. Exercises like long distance running and ballet dancing requires too much stretching of your feet which can develop plantar fasciitis easily.

But it doesn’t mean you should avoid these exercises, properly stretch before starting and take proper rest then you don’t face any kind of difficulty.

Why is my Plantar Fasciitis heel pain worse in the morning?

Plantar fasciitis is often the most painful in the morning because the plantar fascia, the tendon that runs along the bottom of your foot, contracts and tightens when it is not being used. When you step out of bed in the morning, the tightened tendon is overstretched. This overstretching causes microtears in the tendon, in turn causing inflammation and the pain that you are experiencing.

I saw an advertisement for ESWT in Pittsburgh and am wondering, what is the effectiveness of ESWT for plantar fasciitis?

In the experience of Pittsburgh podiatrists performing ESWT, there is an 88% success rate after 3 months following ESWT for plantar fasciitis. It is very unlikely that you would need to have a 2nd procedure done. Please take into account that ESWT in Pittsburgh is not a “cure all” and should not be used as the only means of healing. ESWT will give your body the tools it needs to effectively heal. However, you must help the healing process by continuing to stretch daily, icing in the evenings (after 3 months), and wearing supportive orthotics in your shoes.

How can I tell if my heel pain in Baltimore is from plantar fasciitis?

Several symptoms distinguish plantar fasciitis from other foot injuries or ailments. Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis in Baltimore include:

  • Shooting or stabbing pain in the heel or arch of the foot
  • Pain that is often worse with your first few steps in the morning or after long periods of inactivity
  • Pain following exercise, not typically during exercise

If you suspect that you have plantar fasciitis in Baltimore, you can call 724-991-0116 for assistance in locating a podiatrist office in your area.

What should I try before ESWT in Long Island?

You should try and fail 3 conservative treatments including ice, stretching, cortisone injections, night splint, rest and physical therapy. If this doesn’t work, then ESWT in Long Island is an excellent safe and effective alternative to plantar fascia surgery.