Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: What to Expect

May 07, 2024
Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: What to Expect
Do you suffer from persistent heel pain and have exhausted most options to treat it? Find out how a new, noninvasive treatment that delivers energy straight to the damaged tissues might be the answer.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of tissue connecting the base of your toes to your heel. About one in 10 Americans have it, and while it’s rarely debilitating, it can cause enough discomfort that you quit your favorite sports. And left untreated, it can go on for years. 

If you struggle with heel pain that persists despite undergoing several conservative treatments, our experts at Ledesma Foot and Ankle may be able to help. They use shockwave therapy, a novel approach to plantar fasciitis that's highly effective for stubborn, persistent pain, even when other treatments fail. 

Determining if your pain is caused by plantar fasciitis 

When determining whether your pain is caused by plantar fasciitis, our experts might ask you about your symptoms and how they present. 

The classic presentation of plantar fasciitis is a sharp pain in the heel after waking up, followed by a temporary amelioration of pain, only to have it shoot up again as the day progresses. 

The symptoms present themselves as they do because plantar fasciitis is often caused by overuse and inflammation.  So, while a little bit of activity can lessen the inflammation and get the blood pumping to the tissue, more activity puts more strain on the already worn-out tissues. 

If one of our experts suspects you may be suffering from it, they examine your range of motion and order imaging tests to see what’s causing the issue. 

Treating plantar fasciitis with shockwave therapy

How does shockwave therapy help with plantar fasciitis? Researchers don’t fully understand the mechanism behind shockwave therapy, but there are a few hypotheses behind the reduction of symptoms after treatment. These include:

  • Stimulates the growth of new blood vessels 
  • Stimulates the production of growth factors 
  • Disrupts pain signals 
  • Increases collagen production
  • Lowers inflammation 

A meta-analysis examining the effectiveness of shockwave therapy found that it can improve plantar fasciitis pain both in the short and in the long term. In addition, the study found that shockwave therapy yields superior results in managing pain when compared to other pain management strategies, such as low-level laser therapy, corticosteroid injections, and pain medications. 

What to expect from a shockwave therapy session

Shockwave therapy isn’t painful and doesn’t take long, either. During the session, you relax while one of our experts applies a gel to the sole of your foot. This helps the handheld device delivering shockwave therapy glide more effectively.

After the treatment is finished, you won’t need to make adjustments to your routine, as you shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort. 

Results are not immediate, and you may need at least three sessions to have a lasting impact on your tissues, but as they start to heal, you’ll notice significant improvements in your pain levels and range of motion.

Contact us to schedule an appointment if you seek novel, noninvasive, yet effective treatments for your plantar fasciitis.