One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. It is the inflammation of the tissue that runs at the bottom of the foot. The same tissue connects the toes to the heel bone. This condition causes stabbing pain when you are taking the first steps each morning. This pain decreases as you move about. However, you may experience pain if you stand for long periods or stand after sitting down for a long time.
Using ESWT to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
One of the methods used to treat Plantar fasciitis is called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT). It is different from most shockwave therapies that are used for treating other conditions. This one works with a small emitter that has a piston. When being used, the piston moves against a specialised head causing it to transmit a radial sound wave into the area that has the inflammation. Our Physiotherapist varies the intensity and the spread of the sound waves to bring about a reaction in the tissue. With repeated therapies, the tissue reacts to produce the desired results.
There are several benefits from using this therapy. They include the following:
• The therapy leads to pain reduction as the pain sensing nerves (nociceptors) are dulled.
• ESWT is non-invasive. Unlike open surgeries that will keep you out of work, with this treatment, you can go back to work straight after your treatment.
• The therapy causes the production of collagen, which helps soft tissues, tendons and muscles to repair and heal.
• Shockwaves promote a process called angiogenesis. This process offers more oxygen and nutrients to the tissue in question, which helps in the healing of the injured tissue. Most patients will require several appointments at our clinic to follow up on the healing progress.
Is ESWT Effective?
According to a study conducted on 384 patients suffering from tendon-related inflammations, it was found that the use of ESWT helped in pain reduction of the area in question. The study also found that there was improved functionality and generally better quality of life. This makes it the first-choice treatment for inflammations and tendon injuries.
This treatment method has existed across Europe and Australia since the early 1980s. It has been used over time to treat musculoskeletal disorders and to help stimulate bone growth. However, the therapy was not accredited and there was no modality of using it on patients with other inflammatory conditions. It finally gained accreditation in 2011.
Who Should Not Use the Shock Wave Therapy?
There are certain conditions that contraindicate ESWT. They include:
• Patients with tumours
• Patients with pacemakers as the electrical charge may damage the pacemakers
• Patients that are taking thinning medications that work by interfering with blood clotting
• Pregnant women or children below the age of 15 years
If you are suffering with Plantar Fasciitis, give Turramurra Physiotherapy a call on (02) 9144 1510, and see if shockwave therapy can help you.