Plantar Fasciitis / Heel  Spurs

Commonly referred to as heel spurs, plantar fasciitis is a painful and often debilitating condition that afflicts more than 2.5 million people in the United States each year.  Although everyone is at risk, plantar fasciitis is most commonly found in athletes, runners, overweight individuals, or those who are required to stand on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time. Plantar fasciitis is the most common athletic foot injury. Although conservative treatment will remedy the problem in 90 to 95 percent of the cases, prior to ESWT, surgery was the only available alternative for chronic sufferers.

The recovery time from surgery can be as long as 4 to 6 weeks whereas from ESWT the patient can return to normal activity the same or following day.

ESWT – Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is based on breakthrough technology that has been effectively treating urinary stones for more than 30 years. This non-invasive, outpatient procedure often requires three ten-minute sessions, one week apart. Patients walk in and walk out with no anesthesia needed.  The Siemens Sonocur, a low energy shockwave device, sends low-energy shock (sound) waves through the heel and jumpstarts the heeling process by regenerating blood vessels in the injured area as well as providing an analgesic effect.

Video Demonstration

ESWT Treatment

If your doctor recommends ESWT treatment, he/she will feel the painful area in order to locate the exact point of tenderness. You will be treated sitting in a chair or lying down. Prior to the treatment, the operator will apply a coupling gel to the treatment area. This gel makes it possible for the shock waves to enter the treated area.

The treatment will start with very low intensity pulses. You may experience some irritation every time you hear the “clapping sound” produced by the system’s “loud speaker”. The irritation that you feel should be in the area being treated. If this is not the case, you should move the treated area with operator’s help until you feel the treatment in the area of your pain.

After about 100 pulses, you may experience some kind of local numbness and the operator will increase the energy to the treatment level. This may cause more pain that should eventually wear off after a couple hundred pulses. If the pain is too uncomfortable, you should tell the operator so that the shockwave head may be moved. A total of 2,000 pluses will be applied during a single treatment session. One treatment session will take about 20 minutes and is performed as an outpatient procedure.

A complete therapy usually requires three treatment sessions with a week pause between sessions.

Common Questions

  • What are the side effects of ESWT? The most common adverse reactions include temporary pain associated with bruising and soreness, and swelling. These possible occurrences usually resolve in a few days.
  • Does ESWT hurt? The most common patient complaint during therapy is mild pain or discomfort during and immediately following the procedure.
  • How long is the procedure? Walk in and walk out in under 30 minutes
  • Does insurance cover ESWT? Currently, insurance does not cover ESWT. Please ask your doctor for pricing.