An Inside Look at Shockwave Therapy for Heel Pain, now available in Valencia, CA

Shockwave therapy for heel pain

Healing your heel: an innovative approach for the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis

Is heel pain putting a damper on your day-to-day activities? It doesn’t have to. My team of podiatrists and I are committed to getting you back on your feet – pain-free.

Whether it’s chronic plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, heel spurs, or other heel afflictions, there’s a panoply of treatment options designed to tackle these foot pain issues.

One highly effective non-invasive treatment is Zimmer shockwave therapy. It is a great treatment option now available in the Santa Clarita Valley at University Foot and Ankle Institute in Valencia.

Shockwave therapy is a complementary treatment along with other therapeutic methods such as physiotherapy, NSAIDs, rest, heat, ice, ultrasound, massage, orthotics, plaster immobilization, sparking, shoe modification, and orthotics.

What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave therapy (also called SWT) has been prescribed for treating several musculoskeletal conditions, as a noninvasive procedure that stimulates tissue and bone regeneration.

Simply put, shockwave therapy uses high levels of targeted acoustic energy to promote healing and reduce pain. It’s non-invasive and may help people with plantar fasciitis and other foot and ankle tendon issues avoid more extensive treatments like surgery.

There are both high-energy and low-energy forms of shock wave treatment. Both forms can be used in the treatment of these conditions.

Unlike high-energy shock wave treatments, which are quite painful, and often require anesthesia. Our low-energy shock wave treatments are not painful and are cutting-edge conservative treatment modalities that we have found to be very effective.

A spotlight on the benefits of shockwave therapy for heel pain

The benefits of Zimmer shockwave therapy include:

  • A high success rate (85%) in relieving pain.
  • No risks or complications associated with surgery and no recovery time.
  • In-office treatment sessions over a short period of time.
  • A painless experience with no side effects.

Is there anything shocking in shockwave therapy?

Despite the term “shockwave” suggesting an intense treatment, rest assured, the most you will feel is a mild pulsing of the sound waves emitted from the device.

As for its effectiveness, Zimmer shockwave therapy often matches the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections (corticosteroid injections), or surgical treatment without the downtime, discomfort, or side effects.

What heel conditions can shockwave therapy address?

Shockwave therapy can help treat numerous heel and foot conditions, including:

Plantar Fasciitis

A common source of heel pain, plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia ligament becomes irritated and inflamed. This can result from high arches, increased activity, or high-impact activities like running. If left untreated, it can increase your risk of developing heel spurs. Shockwave therapy is an effective treatment for plantar fasciitis as it reduces inflammation and soothes the plantar fascia.

Heel Spurs

Heel spurs, or bone spurs in the heel, are calcium deposits that protrude from your heel bone, causing plantar heel pain and potentially interfering with walking. They can form due to improper footwear, running on hard surfaces, or untreated plantar fasciitis and can only be eliminated with professional treatment.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon, which connects your calf muscles to your heel bone, is susceptible to inflammation due to overuse from extensive walking, running, jumping, and climbing. This type of injury can be slow to heal naturally, and untreated tendonitis could lead to tendon rupture. Shockwave therapy for Achilles tendinopathy has proven to be very effective.

Zimmer Shockwave
Credit: zimmer.de

How does shockwave therapy work?

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), colloquially known as radial shockwave therapy, is, as we mentioned, a non-invasive technique that directs shock waves to injured soft tissue, reducing pain and promoting healing.

The procedure kick starts your body’s natural healing process, increasing blood flow and creating new blood vessels that bring more blood and nutrition to the inflamed area. This boost enables your body to repair the soft tissue damage from typical foot and ankle injuries more rapidly. Additionally, shockwave therapy can help dissolve calcific deposits such as heel spurs.

This FDA-approved technology delivers low-frequency shockwaves to the heel so gently that it can be used on anyone, from athletes to children and seniors.

The machine’s handheld device, which looks like an ultrasound probe, converts kinetic energy into mechanical energy. This energy travels directly to the inflamed tissue in the heel to treat the underlying problem.

The outcome of the shockwave treatment is decreased inflammation, regeneration of damaged cells and tissues, and substantial relief from heel pain.

What should you expect during a shockwave therapy session?

This treatment method usually involves four to six 10-minute sessions of shockwave therapy scheduled a week apart.

During a shockwave therapy session, we will:

  • Identify the inflamed area
  • Apply gel to the heel
  • Activate the Zimmer shockwave probe
  • Clean the area post-treatment

The procedure is typically painless, but you may experience slight pain, redness, or swelling for a few days afterward, which indicates your body is working hard to expedite the healing process. After your treatment sessions, we’ll schedule a follow-up to evaluate the success of your therapy.

Your heel pain relief journey begins with University Foot and Ankle Institute

If you’re ready to bid farewell to your heel pain, it might be time to explore shockwave therapy for your foot issues. As leading foot and ankle care providers in Southern California, we take pride in our diverse and innovative heel pain treatments.

If you’re suffering from foot injuries or chronic ankle and heel pain, visit one of our clinics nearest to you. We offer shockwave therapy treatment at our Valencia and Santa Monica, CA clinics.

Once you book your appointment, we’ll work together to develop a personalized, all-inclusive treatment plan that effectively targets your pain.

If you’re ready to eliminate your heel pain safely and efficiently, contact us today. We’re eager to help you stride confidently and comfortably again!

University Foot and Ankle Institute: pioneering shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis and heel pain

Our team is specially trained in shockwave therapy as a treatment to reduce heel pain.

Our patients rely on our decades of experience in developing, researching, and using the latest technologies to help bring pain-free activity back to their lives. Whether you want to compete in sports again or play with your kids, you can trust our physicians to know if advanced therapies such as shockwave therapy would likely be effective.

If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our foot and ankle specialists by calling (877) 736-6001 or make an appointment online. Shockwave therapy is available at our Santa Monica and Valencia clinics.

If you’re suffering from foot pain and have not received adequate relief or care, or need an independent second opinion, don’t hesitate to contact us today to set up an appointment for a consultation.

Shockwave therapy FAQs

Does shockwave therapy really work for plantar fasciitis?

In general, shock wave therapy is thought to provide some symptom relief for about 44–80% of people who receive this treatment. Shock wave therapy for plantar fasciitis is generally considered an effective treatment, according to a 2021 study.  Also, as a non-invasive treatment to supplement a physical therapy program, shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis is a great option.

How many sessions of shockwave for plantar fasciitis may be required?

Generally, you will require at least 2 to 3 sessions of shockwave therapy based on your condition and its severity. Please ask our podiatrist how many treatments they think you may require after being examined.

What are the drawbacks of shockwave therapy?

There aren’t any! The only drawback is it may not work for everyone, as every patient is different. But we have found it very effective, so we believe the odds are good that it will be beneficial for the vast majority of our patients.

What is the recovery time for shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis?

When low-energy extracorporeal shock wave therapy is used for plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis and other foot and ankle tendon issues, healing begins within four to six weeks. However, continued recovery can last for several months.

What is the treatment protocol for plantar fasciitis with shockwave therapy?

The protocol is very straightforward. The procedure takes about 10 to 20 minutes per foot. You might feel some mild discomfort as the shock waves penetrate your heel, though most of our patients do not. Depending on the severity of your plantar fasciitis condition, you may need to return for two to four additional shock wave sessions.

After your examination by one of our podiatrists, you’ll be informed of the estimated number of treatments required.

Sources: 

Effectiveness of shockwave therapy in the treatment of plantar fasciitis
A prospective study of a series of cases, conducted in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, by the Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, in Hospital São Paulo. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7006537/

Effectiveness of shockwave therapy in the treatment of plantar fasciitis
A double blind, randomized trial assessing the efficacy of a new electromagnetic shock wave device. J Foot Ankle Surg. 2007; 46 (5):348–357.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7006537/

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is effective in treating chronic plantar fasciitis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5403108

Extracorporeal shock-wave therapy in the management of chronic soft-tissue conditions.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15046427

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for plantar fasciitis. A double-blind, randomized controlled trial.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12919884

Radial extracorporeal shock-wave therapy in patients with chronic rotator cuff tendinitis: a prospective randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled multicenter trial.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24151273/

The diagnosis and treatment of heel pain: a clinical practice guideline-revision 2010
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20439021/

The effectiveness of conservative, non-pharmacological treatment of plantar heel pain: A systematic review with meta-analysis
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29126045/

Treatment of plantar fasciitis with radial shockwave therapy vs. focused shockwave therapy: a randomized controlled trial
Studying lower extremity bone disorders (e.g., Paget’s, osteomyelitis), calcaneal fractures, nerve entrapment, ruptures in tendons and more.
https://www.hss.edu/clinical-trials_plantar-fasciiitis-shockwave-therapy.asp

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