We have used shockwave therapy as a treatment for chronic heel pain in the practice for over four years now. We have found it to be a very successful treatment for those who suffer from heel pain that is unrelieved from traditional forms of conservative treatment such as steroid injections, functional orthotics, physical therapy, change in shoewear, etc.
Before shockwave therapy if patients weren't responding to conservative treatment a surgical plantar fasciotomy was considered which has a significant recovery period of six to eight weeks and possibly signficant time off from work. At Family Foot & Ankle Care since we have been offering shockwave therapy a plantar fasciotomy has only had to be performed twice and this was because the insurance company did not cover shockwave therapy at the time.
Shockwave therapy has multiple benefits:
* Convenient as it is performed in the office
* Patient friendly as there is a minimum recovery time
* Successful with a greater than 85% success rate in alleviating symptoms
HOW IT WORKS:
*Through the process of cavitation, it stimulates fibroblast and tenocyte production. Fibroblasts and tenocytes make up the body's connective tissue and help to repair chronically damaged tissue such as occurs with chronic plantar fasciitis. Shockwave therapy therefore helps to "kickstart" the body's process of healing thereby repairing the damaged plantar fascia ligament.
*Shockwave therapy diminishes pain by over-stimulating the nerves that send pain sensations to the brain.
*Shockwave therapy can breakdown pathological calcium deposits (bone spur).
The patients being treated for chronic heel pain with shockwave therapy usually describe a pain level of 7 to 10 out of 10 on the pain scale with 10 being the most painful. Within four to five months the large majority of these patients can legitimately state they have experience significant pain relief. We had one recent patient who was able to run in the Boston marathon three months after the procedure!! Another weekend warrior was finally able to return back to playing softball again without limping or hobbling to first base.
Many people suffering from heel pain resign themselves to living with heel pain even if they've received some forms of conservative treatment that have proven unsuccessful. They don't have to live with this heel pain. Shockwave therapy has proven very successful in this practice and will continue for years to come. It helps to relieve people of their heel pain enabling them to re-engage with life's activities which they were previously apprehensive about participating in as the heel pain signficantly has hindered their enjoyment of these activities.
We have seen first hand how it improves people's quality of life. They no longer limp but ambulate pain free and return back to their activities without having to think about their heel pain!