If you have Heel pain you may have heard of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) but what is it?
It is an effective, non-invasive treatment to reduce pain and increase tissue mobility. A pre-cursor to steroid injections and surgical procedures.
This technology uses shock waves to treat chronic painful conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Extracorporeal means outside the body.
The foot and ankle is one of the most commonly treated areas with ESWT. In addition to promoting healing, ESWT appears to have a direct effect on the nerves and reduce pain.
The shock waves are mechanical, not electric and are generated outside of the body. It is a very low-risk procedure.
If you are suffering with heel pain, please contact us for advice. There are many causes of heel pain and our Podiatrists can diagnose your problem and tell you more about your treatment options. We can help you return to comfort quickly and let you get on with more important things in life.
Alternatively Click on Heel Pain to download a copy of our leaflet:
How does shockwave help?
Shockwave is an innovative technology that accelerates the body’s natural healing process by sending waves through the tissue. They stimulate metabolism and improve blood circulation, allowing for the degeneration and complete healing of damaged tissue.
How shockwave therapy can work for you?
The treatment specifically targets your damaged tissue with precisely calculated shockwaves that create minute cavitation bubbles in the tissue, which then burst and activate pain-relieving enzymes, blood flow, and stem cell activity in the treated area.
Shockwave therapy provides post-treatment pain relief and stimulates long-term tissue normalisation and regeneration.
Which conditions can be treated?
Shockwave therapy is one of the few treatments that can work when an injury reaches a chronic non-healing state. Appropriate conditions include plantar fasciitis, Achilles, hamstring, patella, gluteal and tennis elbow tendinopathies, heel spurs and soft tissue injuries and pain.
Who can be treated with Shockwave therapy?
Shockwave has been found to be beneficial for patients with persistent symptoms or who have not responded to other conservative treatments such as painkillers, rest, ice therapy, physiotherapy, or steroid injections.
It is a very safe treatment for most patients, but it is not appropriate for pregnant women or those with specific underlying medical conditions.
What does the treatment involve?
The treatment is delivered using a handheld device attached to a machine.
Some ultrasound gel will be placed on the skin over the injured area and the hand piece of the ESWT device will be placed on this. The shockwave is then delivered via the handheld transducer using the gel as a conductive medium. The gel enables a tight bond between the skin and the device allowing the waves to transmit to the tissues beneath.
The waves are audible throughout the treatment, we will ask you how you are feeling frequently and adjust the intensity of the treatment based on your feedback.
For the treatment to be effective, a personalised rehabilitation plan will be required. Guidelines recommend a total of 3 to 6 shockwave treatments. This will include strengthening exercises, as well as advice and education regarding how much and when to exercise. Each treatment takes approximately 5 mins to deliver the shockwave energy and you must attend for 3 sessions over 3 consecutive weeks.
How do you prepare for ESWT?
You must ensure that you are available for the course of 3 treatments, one week apart. You can eat and drink normally before the treatment. Do not take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen for 2 weeks before your treatment and do not take any during your treatment.
What can you expect after treatment?
After the treatment you should be able to get up and walk immediately. It is very unusual but if you feel any discomfort, you can take painkillers to relieve this. Please avoid taking anti-inflammatory medication or ice therapy as this can interfere with the healing process. You should be able to return to your usual activities including work straight away.
We advise not to take any strenuous or hight impact activity for 48 hrs following the procedure.
When do you see the results?
Many patients experience some degree of improvement almost right away; however, this improvement is often transient and is sometimes accompanied by an anaesthetic reaction to the ESWT’s hyper stimulating of the tissue. The healing process for wounds takes a few days, but many patients start to feel better by the end of the second week. However, the healing procedure could take several weeks or even months to complete.
Click Heel Pain to download a copy of our leaflet.