Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

Updated 3/7/2024
On NBC's "The Doctor's" our Dr. B. discussing and performing a Shockwave Therapy treatment for plantar fasciitis before a live studio audience.
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What is extracorporeal shockwave therapy?

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-surgical treatment for plantar fascitis/fasciosis and Achilles tendonitis/tendinosis. ESWT is often used for chronic injuries that have not responded to conservative treatments like stretching, physical therapy, and orthotics.

 

Shockwave therapy produces various levels of controlled trauma that cause inflammation and trigger the body’s natural healing processes.

 

We are one of the few providers in the nation that offers high-intensity and low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy.

 

Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

What to expect during shockwave treatment

Using a specially designed applicator, ESWT works by focusing shockwaves (sound waves) directly at the painful or injured part of your foot. The shockwaves produce micro-traumas to the soft tissue that’s causing your pain.

 

Your body reacts to these micro-traumas by signaling for an increased blood supply to the painful area. This procedure also helps break down calcifications; injured tendons, ligaments, and muscles; and scar tissue. It can also increase blood vessel formation, increasing nutrient flow to the injured area. This helps your body heal itself and reduces the need for potential surgical intervention.

 

This in-office, 15-minute procedure, is typically performed with no anesthesia and almost no pain. Normally, patients receive three shockwave treatments — one per week. Low-intensity ESWT always takes place in the office and requires no anesthesia. As the name suggests, it’s less intense than high-intensity shockwave therapy and therefore allows for a more comfortable lifestyle while healing.

 

In some cases, high-intensity shockwave therapy may be the best treatment option. Since this can cause more discomfort during the procedure, it may require monitored anesthesia. The good news is it usually requires just one treatment.

 

How does shockwave therapy work for chronic pain? 

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that has been increasingly used for chronic pain relief, especially in musculoskeletal conditions. University Foot & Ankle Institute’s podiatry experts choose this non-invasive treatment option because of its wide range of benefits.

 

ESWT improves chronic pain through:

 

  • Pain reduction: Shockwave therapy is believed to have a direct effect on nerve fibers, reducing pain signals transmitted to the brain.
  • Increased blood flow: The high-energy acoustic waves stimulate blood circulation in the affected area. Improved blood flow and the development of new blood vessels bring essential nutrients and oxygen necessary for the healing process, thereby aiding in the repair of damaged tissue.
  • Stimulation of healing: ESWT can stimulate the body's natural healing processes. It enhances cellular repair and regeneration by promoting the release of growth factors and attracting stem cells to the affected area.
  • Breakdown of calcified fibroblasts: In conditions like calcific tendonitis, shockwave therapy helps break down calcified fibroblasts (calcium deposits) in the tendons. Removing these deposits can relieve pain and restore function.

 

What is post-shockwave recovery? 

Patients will typically feel mild improvement after their first visit, significant improvement after the second treatment, and are usually able to return to normal work and activities after the third treatment. 

 

While patients occasionally notice soreness in the area of the procedure, it rarely lasts more than 24 hours and there is no downtime. Your doctor will explain how to deal with any discomfort, which can usually be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication.

 

It typically takes several months to reap all the pain-reduction benefits of shockwave therapy.

 

University Foot & Ankle Institute: Pioneering shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis 

Our team is specially trained in shockwave therapy as a treatment to reduce heel pain. Clinical studies have shown that people undergoing shockwave treatment showed significantly reduced pain and improved quality of life.

 

Our patients rely on our decades of experience in developing, researching, and using cutting-edge 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 will be effective for you.

 

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

 

We are proud to now offer state-of-the-art Zimmer shockwave therapy at our Valencia clinic.

 

For a consultation, please call (877) 736-6001 or make an appointment online now.

 

University Foot and Ankle Institute is conveniently located throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area. Our foot and ankle surgeons are available at locations in or near Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, the San Fernando Valley, El Segundo, the South Bay, LAX, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Valencia, Santa Clarita, and Santa Barbara.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Shockwave Therapy

 

What are the success rates of shockwave therapy for the treatment of plantar fasciitis? How many sessions does it usually take?

Shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis usually takes 3-4 sessions and we see a 70% success rate. Our physicians can also discuss other options once they get a sense of your exact condition. 

 

Is Shockwave FDA-approved?

Yes. Shockwave is an FDA-cleared technology.

 

What are the possible side effects of shockwave?

Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical procedure with virtually no side effects. In some cases, patients may experience minor discomfort for a few days.

 

Aside from foot and ankle conditions, what other orthopedic ailments is Shockwave therapy used for?

Shockwave therapy is utilized for a broad spectrum of conditions beyond foot and ankle ailments. It proves effective in treating tennis elbow/golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff tendinitis/shoulder tendinopathy, back pain, hip and shoulder bursitis, and other sports injuries.

 

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