Also called extracorporeal shockwave therapy or extracorporeal lithotripsy (EWST), shockwave treatment is a technique designed to treat specific types of chronic pain in the heel and other areas of the foot by reducing inflammation, breaking down painful adhesions and stimulating natural healing responses that promote the development of healthy tissue. Shockwave therapy uses bursts of ultrasonic energy delivered through the skin and adjusted to target injured tissues while leaving surrounding tissues unaffected. These focused bursts of energy create controlled areas of tissue damage that trigger the body's healing systems to “kick in,” replacing damaged tissue with healthy tissue while promoting better circulation so inflammation is relieved.
No, shockwave therapy has a longstanding history of safe, effective use in many areas of the body, including the back, neck and shoulder areas.
Shockwave therapy requires no sedation or anesthesia, and it can be performed right in the office. During therapy, the shockwave device will be pressed gently against the bottom of the heel (or other areas of the foot) and gently moved around the area as ultrasonic energy is emitted. Some patients experience mild sensations as the energy penetrates damaged tissues to stimulate natural healing responses. Most treatments take about 15 minutes to complete.
While significant benefits can be achieved in some patients in just one visit, other patients may require additional treatments, especially if the damage is extensive or very deep. In those cases, multiple treatments can be administered at about a week apart to promote and continue the healing processes over time. Most patients experience maximum healing benefits within about two months of treatment. Shockwave therapy doesn't require any downtime, so patients are able to enjoy their normal activities throughout their course of treatment.
Because it's noninvasive and promotes natural healing, shockwave therapy can be ideal for most patients. Prior to therapy, a thorough evaluation will be performed to determine if a different course of care might be a better option.
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