At Propel Physiotherapy, we often recommend our clients try shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis. Due to its low-intensity nature, treatment can be observed with little, to no, side effects.
Shockwave Therapy is a non-invasive therapeutic device that works by delivering acoustic waves to the site of injury. The machine uses kinetic energy to reach the target area via a small applicator at the head of the SWT handle. This energy penetrates the skin sending a radial wave as deep as 7 centimetres into the body, with the highest pressure felt at the surface of the body.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition causing inflammation in the tissue running along the bottom of your foot connecting your heel to your toes. The plantar fascia is designed to absorb increased bouts of stress at the bottom of your foot. Increasing the pressure at the bottom of your foot over long periods of time, at too high an intensity, can cause tearing or damage to the tissue. This damage increases inflammation in the foot, which can result in stiffness of the tissue and/or heel pain.
Symptoms and Risk Factors of Plantar Fasciitis
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include stabbing pain at the heel that is worse in the morning or after long periods of rest, or worsened after exercise.
The likelihood of experiencing plantar fasciitis is increased by the following factors, although they are not the only risk factors.:
- being someone who works on their feet all day
- being between the ages of 40 and 60
- having a flat foot, high arch or abnormal gait
- carrying a few extra pounds
You may also experience some pain if you have just increased your normal activity levels or tried out a new form of exercise.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
Treatment of plantar fasciitis includes ice, anti-inflammatory medications and proper shoes with a custom shoe orthotic, in the short term; but exercise and shockwave therapy have been shown as an effective, long-term treatment.
In a study by Ugurlar et al., 2018, they compared four types of treatment on chronic plantar fasciitis, including: shockwave therapy, corticosteroid injections, prolotherapy and platelet-rich plasma.
The study included six follow-up periods at the 1-, 3-, 6-,12-, 24- and 36-month post-treatment, and found that shockwave therapy was most beneficial in the first six months after treatment concluded (Ugurlar et al., 2018). The study also found that shockwave therapy began working within two weeks of application, with success rates between 48-88% (Urgurlar et al., 2018).
Shockwave therapy is also effective in treating other common conditions, like Achilles tendinopathy and lateral epicondylitis. Talk to us about treatment options for you.
Kadakia, A. R. (2010, June). Plantar Fasciitis and Bone Spurs – OrthoInfo – AAOS. Retrieved from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/plantar-fasciitis-and-bone-spurs.
Uğurlar, M., Sönmez, M. M., Uğurlar, Ö. Y., Adıyeke, L., Yıldırım, H., & Eren, O. T. (2018). Effectiveness of Four Different Treatment Modalities in the Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis During a 36-Month Follow-Up Period: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 57(5), 913–918. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2018.03.017
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