By Dr Andrew Ullo (Chiropractor)
Heel pain, particularly caused by plantar fasciitis, can be a real stumbling block in our daily lives. Walking, running, or even standing become excruciating tasks. Thankfully, advancements in medical treatments have brought us a promising solution: shockwave therapy.
In this blog, we’ll dive into the depths of this innovative therapy, exploring its effectiveness in combating heel pain and potentially relieving the grip of plantar fasciitis.
Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
Before we delve into shockwave therapy, let’s understand the villain it aims to defeat: plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia—a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. It is characterized by a sharp pain in the heel, usually experienced during the first steps in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest. This condition affects millions worldwide, often hampering their mobility and overall quality of life.
The Power of Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy, also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), is a non-invasive treatment that has gained traction in recent years. The therapy involves delivering high-energy sound waves to the affected area, promoting the healing process and reducing pain. It has been successfully used in various medical fields, including orthopedics and sports medicine. But can it work its magic on heel pain and plantar fasciitis?
Scientific Evidence and Studies
Numerous studies have examined the efficacy of shockwave therapy for heel pain and plantar fasciitis. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research found that shockwave therapy provided significant pain relief and improved functional outcomes in patients suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis.
Another study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine reported similar positive results, highlighting shockwave therapy as a valuable treatment option.
Mechanism of Action
How does shockwave therapy work its wonders? The high-energy sound waves generated by the therapy stimulate blood circulation, enhance tissue regeneration, and promote the production of collagen—a crucial component for tissue repair. By targeting the source of the problem, shockwave therapy aims to accelerate the healing process and reduce inflammation, ultimately alleviating heel pain.
Considerations and Limitations
While shockwave therapy holds promise, it’s important to acknowledge its limitations. The therapy may not be suitable for everyone, including pregnant women, individuals with blood clotting disorders, or those with certain medical conditions. Additionally, the cost and availability of shockwave therapy can vary depending on geographical location and healthcare settings. Consulting a healthcare professional is essential to determine if shockwave therapy is the right choice for you.
Heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis can be debilitating, but shockwave therapy offers a glimmer of hope. Scientific evidence and studies have demonstrated the potential of this non-invasive treatment to provide significant pain relief and improve functional outcomes. While it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution and has its limitations, shockwave therapy holds promise as an effective option. Consultation with a healthcare professional will help determine whether shockwave therapy can kick away your heel pain, allowing you to step towards a pain-free life.
- Rompe, J. D., Furia, J., & Maffulli, N. (2009). Eccentric loading compared with shock wave treatment for chronic insertional Achilles tendinopathy: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 91(6), 1450-1458.