Plantar Fasciitis is overwhelmingly the most common musculoskeletal injury that presents at Performance Podiatry Sydney. It ranges from a mild to a debilitating form of heel, arch, or forefoot pain. In previous blogs we have visited foot arch pain, the most common causes of heel pain, and the difference between heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. This blog is aimed at focussing on a newer treatment modality, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, and the tremendous impact it has had in treating plantar fasciitis.
History of Shockwave Therapy
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy was first used in Europe for the treatment of treat kidney stones. Coincidentally, patients were finding that while undergoing treatment, their musculoskeletal conditions, such as lower back pain, were improving. Shockwave therapy has now been used for 15 years for the treatment of plantar fasciitis in the United States since it was first approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Nowadays, it is used worldwide.
How Shockwave Therapy works
Shockwave therapy uses high intensity shockwaves (similar to sound waves) that travel through the tissues on the sole of the foot to reach the plantar fascia. As they travel through the layers beyond the skin, they break down targeted tissue and stimulate repair. Essentially, it kick-starts the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
How Effective is Shockwave Therapy?
Research is showing that the outcomes of extracorporeal shockwave therapy are positive. Most retrospective studies are proposing an 80-88% success rate in significantly reducing heel pain. This is comparable to the outcomes of surgical treatment, but without the risks such as nerve damage and without the downtime required for an invasive procedure. And cost-wise it is a much cheaper option. Not only is the price of a course of shockwave therapy lower than surgical treatment, but the indirect costs such as time off work or off your feet is null.
In the clinic at Performance Podiatry Sydney we are having great success with treating plantar fasciitis and heel pain using extracorporeal shockwave therapy. Particularly, the stubborn cases where all other traditional treatments have been exhausted. We are even following the advice of leading researchers and implementing shockwave therapy earlier in the treatment regimen to give a faster, more efficient recovery.
If you have been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, make an appointment for a shockwave consultation to kick start the healing process and get back to enjoying being active.