What is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)?
Shockwave Therapy is known for its use by urologists to treat
kidney stones. In October of 2000 the FDA issued approval
of ESWT for the treatment of plantar fasciitis (heel or arch
pain). Do not let the name alarm you; simple sound waves are
used to treat the heel pain on an outpatient basis. An important
benefit of ESWT is that it is delivered from outside the body;
so many of the risks associated with surgery are eliminated.
How does ESWT work?
Sound waves are applied to the painful area of the heel using
an orthopedic shockwave device (as shown).
This in turn leads to increased blood flow to the area that
triggers the body's repair abilities to create tendon healing.
The sound waves over stimulate the nerves to reduce the sensitivity
Who would benefit from this new treatment?
People who have suffered from chronic heel pain for at least
6 months and have tried other methods for treating it. Other
methods for treatment may include stretching, icing, anti-inflammatory
drugs, taping, orthotics, night splints, rest, changes in
shoe gear, padding and cortisone injection(s).
What will happen on the day of ESWT?
The treatment is non-invasive; there is no cutting of tissues
or skin. Local anesthesia will be administered before the
treatment begins. The entire procedure usually takes less
than 30 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. There
is no hospital stay required.
What can I expect after the ESWT treatment?
After a patient is discharged they may experience some discomfort,
bruising, and swelling for a few days. The doctor may prescribe
a mild pain medication and orthotics. Also, the doctor may
tell you to restrict stressful activities, such as running,
sports, or carrying heavy loads, for up to four weeks. A follow
up visit with your doctor should be scheduled for three to
six weeks after the treatment.
What are the benefits and risks involved with ESWT?
Based on worldwide medical experience, extracorporeal shockwave
therapy is a safe and effective alternative to the traditional
treatment methods available. There are very few side effects
or risks involved in ESWT. The most common patient complaint
is some discomfort during and after the treatment. Other side
effects include numbness, tingling, reddening or bruising
in the treated foot. Some patients will experience pain, which
may last from a few days to weeks after the treatment. If
you have more questions about the treatment, or would like
to be evaluated to see if you are a candidate for it, please
contact us at 1-800-255-5779 and arrange for an appointment
with one of our doctors.
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