Heel pain is a common complaint, especially in people who jog regularly, people who are overweight, and seniors. Most cases of heel pain are caused by micro tears in the plantar fascia that runs under the foot. This can occur due to overuse (e.g., exercising every day and/or putting extra pressure on the heels due to excess weight).
Fortunately, there are effective treatments even for pain that’s resistant to anti-inflammatories or physical therapy.
Below, we asked Dr. Kenneth Meisler, our expert, to explain the seven key benefits of shockwave therapy, a novel way to manage chronic heel pain. It’s a treatment that uses a device to release acoustic energy into the problem area, stimulating blood flow and the formation of new blood vessels, and, consequently, speeding up healing.
The shockwaves are delivered via a device that glides over the skin. The treatment doesn’t involve incisions, as acoustic waves can penetrate several layers of tissue.
Since there are no incisions or injections, the treatment is painless. However, some patients may experience diffuse pain anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days after the treatment, before the healing process begins.
There’s no downtime needed, and if you don’t have a job that involves strenuous physical activities, you can even have the treatment done during your lunch break.
Anti-inflammatories for pain management can cause several side effects when used for prolonged periods, including kidney damage, digestive problems, stomach ulcers, and headaches. Opiates are another type of medication commonly prescribed for pain that can bring relief but can also lead to addiction.
In a fast-paced world, it’s hard to find time, even for a doctor’s appointment. Fortunately, sessions are short. It takes anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes to deliver the acoustic waves to your heels.
Studies conducted by NHS Foundation Trust suggest that the success rate of shockwave therapy for heel pain is up to 80%. For best results, you may need three sessions.
Most people who are looking for noninvasive pain treatment for their heels are good candidates. However, there are a few cases in which shockwave therapy isn’t indicated. These include people who have a pacemaker, cancer sufferers undergoing treatment, and people who are suffering from an active infection.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain in your heel and are unsure of what to do next, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our expert will examine your heel and fill you in on the best treatment to manage your symptoms.