ESWT (Shock Wave Therapy)
A relatively new treatment option for heel pain is ESWT (Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy) which involves the use of high intensity sound waves to cause neovascularization (tissue repair). Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, or ESWT, treats chronic heel pain syndrome (Plantar Fasciitis) and other tendonitis conditions. It is a non-invasive procedure in which therapeutic pressure waves are directed at the pain area.
The practitioner can either use low or high intensity treatment with the high intensity being more successful. The procedure lasts approximately 15 minutes and requires three sessions, scheduled once a week. During the treatment, the technician direct therapeutic pressure waves to the affected area. The treatment may take from one to three months to be fully effective. You will need to schedule continued care visits and post-ESWT continuance therapy. Patients experience a short recovery period, often with few or no side effects. Most patients experience relief from the pain right away, but in others, the full results from a single treatment may be experienced in one to three months.
Most patients tolerate the procedure without anesthesia. The patient will experience mild tingling sensation.
ESWT should be used in conjunction with other conservative options such as stretching, orthotics, activity modifications and maintaining a healthy weight. The success of ESWT is difficult to establish due to different levels of intensity being use by different practitioners However, anecdotal evidence suggests that this treatment option can be successful, ESWT is not available in all podiatrist surgeries and is generally not available here in the UK apart from a few specialised clinics in London.