Heel pain puts a significant damper on your life and everyday activities. If you have heel pain, along with stiffness or swelling, you might be dealing with plantar fasciitis.
If you are indeed diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, various treatments can help. Suppose you've tried over-the-counter pain medications or other conservative measures without relief. In that case, you could benefit from extracorporeal shockwave therapy.
Dr. Marque A. Allen and the team at Sports Medicine Associates offer cutting-edge treatments like ESWT for plantar fasciitis. Dr. Allen is an experienced foot and ankle surgeon who provides specialized care to control your pain.
The facts on plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that stems from inflammation in your plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a strong, thick piece of tissue in each foot. It extends from your toes to your heel and keeps the bones inside your feet together.
Heel pain is one of the most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis. The pain may be dull or stabbing and can come and go. Other hallmark symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Foot pain near your arch
- Foot or heel stiffness
- Heel swelling
- Tightness in your Achilles tendon
If you have plantar fasciitis, your pain is most likely worse in the morning or after sitting or lying down for an extended period. Exercise sometimes helps your symptoms, but they usually come back when you're at rest.
Plantar fasciitis has several causes, including standing on your feet all day for work. Other reasons you can have this condition include:
- Being active in sports
- Working out on hard surfaces
- Being active without stretching
- Wearing unsupportive shoes
You're also at risk for plantar fasciitis if you're overweight or have higher than normal arches.
What is ESWT?
If Dr. Allen diagnoses you with plantar fasciitis, he might recommend extracorporeal shockwave therapy. ESWT is a treatment that Dr. Allen uses for several conditions that affect your tendons.
ESWT comes in two forms — low energy and high energy. For the former, Dr. Allen uses low-energy electromagnetic pulses to form tiny trauma spots in your tendon. You may need several treatments if he uses low-energy ESWT.
Dr. Allen performs high-energy ESWT during one treatment session. However, the electromagnetic pulses are much higher with this form of ESWT, meaning it's painful and uncomfortable. That’s why he provides general anesthesia or a local block to keep you comfortable during the procedure.
One of the benefits of ESWT is that it's minimally invasive. Dr. Allen provides this treatment when other therapies haven't worked to heal your plantar fasciitis pain.
How does ESWT help?
Dr. Allen harnesses the power of the electromagnetic pulses in ESWT to provoke your body's healing response. During treatment for plantar fasciitis, he passes a probe over your plantar fascia, which releases electromagnetic pulses.
When the probe emits the energy, it creates small areas of trauma in your plantar fascia. The trauma signals your body to begin the healing process, which includes:
- Breaking up calcifications in the tissue
- Hyperstimulating your nerves, which results in pain relief
- Forming new blood vessels
- Increasing blood flow to the injury
- Speeding up the healing process at the cell level
The significant aspect of ESWT is that it doesn't require incisions or surgery. It's a noninvasive option when you can't take medications or haven't gotten relief from other noninvasive treatment options.
You may experience immediate pain relief after your ESWT therapy. You'll continue to get relief as your body begins to heal the inflammation in your plantar fascia.
If you're interested in ECSW for your plantar fasciitis, call the Sports Medicine Associates of San Antonio today at one of our convenient locations in Texas. You can also request an appointment with Dr. Allen on our website.