Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that causes pain in the heel and arch of the foot. It is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. The condition can be debilitating, making it difficult or impossible to walk or stand for long periods of time. This pain can be most prevalent when you first get up of a morning and can affect you throughout the day.
What treatment options are available?
Treatment for plantar fasciitis typically begins with conservative measures, such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication. Wearing supportive shoes and using arch supports or shoe inserts can also help alleviate pain and reduce pressure on the plantar fascia. Stretching exercises, such as rolling the foot over a tennis ball or using a foam roller, can also be helpful in relieving tension in the plantar fascia.
Physical therapy is another treatment option for plantar fasciitis. A physical therapist can teach you specific exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your foot and calf, which can help reduce pain and improve mobility.
In cases in which pain continues, some therapists may recommend a corticosteroid injection to help reduce inflammation in the plantar fascia. This is typically only used as a last resort, as there is a risk of side effects and the injection may not provide long-term relief.
For those looking for a less invasive, highly effective and safer treatment option, shockwave therapy provides a great alternative.
How can shockwave therapy treat plantar fasciitis?
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment option for plantar fasciitis that uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing in the affected area. It’s been found to be effective in reducing pain and improving function in those with plantar fasciitis, and it’s a popular alternative to more invasive procedures such as surgery and preferred to using injection methods.
There are two different types of shockwave therapy used to treat plantar fasciitis, focused shockwave therapy and radial shockwave therapy (sometimes called radial pressure wave). Both forms of shockwave offer treatment that uses a device to deliver energy to the affected area through a probe placed against the skin.
Both are typically administered in a clinical setting and may be used in conjunction with other treatments such as stretching and strengthening exercises.
Focused and radial shockwaves are both effective for treating plantar fasciitis, however they differ not only in regard to their physical properties and mode of generation, but also in terms of the magnitude of the standard parameters (pressure amplitude, pulse duration, impact) used and the therapeutic tissue penetration depths achieved. Focused shockwave can treat the patient at greater depths and more accurately, whereas radial treats a larger area at a shallower depth.
Why choose shockwave therapy?
Shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis offers several potential benefits, including pain relief without the need for surgery or other invasive procedures. It’s also relatively quick and easy to administer, typically requiring only a few treatment sessions to achieve good results. In addition to reducing pain, shockwave therapy has been found to improve mobility and function in those with plantar fasciitis, making it easier to walk and stand for long periods of time.
While shockwave therapy is generally considered safe and effective, there are some potential side effects to consider. These may include skin irritation, swelling, and soreness in the treated area, but these are not long term effects. To minimise the risk of side effects, it’s important to choose a trained and experienced healthcare professional to administer shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis and to follow all instructions for care and follow-up after treatment.
In conclusion, shockwave therapy is an excellent non-invasive treatment option for plantar fasciitis that has been found to be effective in reducing pain and improving function in those with the condition. While there are potential side effects, they are generally minor and temporary. If you are considering shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis, it’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits with a trained healthcare professional.
If you are a clinic owner researching shockwave therapy for your own use, a shockwave therapy machine is a great addition for any clinic looking to add more treatment options when manual therapy isn’t quite enough. Give us a call or speak to us on our live chat to ask any questions you might have.