There was a time when if conservative therapy did not relieve pain, surgery was the only option. Now, however, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is a treatment method that applies acoustic energy to the heel tissue from outside the body to treat chronic heel pain (plantar fasciitis/heel spur syndrome). During this non-invasive surgical procedure, sonic waves are directed at the area of pain using a device similar to that currently used in non-surgical treatment of kidney stones. “Extracorporeal” means “outside of the body,” and refers to this non-invasive surgical procedure in which strong sound waves are directed at the area of heel pain.
During the usually brief procedure of about 20 minutes, performed under local anesthesia and/or “twilight” anesthesia, strong sound waves penetrate the heel area and stimulate a healing response by increasing blood flow to the area. An overnight hospital stay is not necessary since extracorporeal shock wave therapy is performed on an outpatient basis in our offices.
This Orthospec non-invasive office treatment is FDA Approved; significantly lowers complication rate; gives faster recovery time; earlier return normal activity and lower healthcare cost. Patients who have suffered with heel pain for several months, and for whom conservative measures have not brought relief, may be good candidates for ESWT.
Plantar Fasciitis (“Plan-TER FASH-EE-eye-TUS”) is caused by inflammation of the connective tissue that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone. It is the most common cause of heel pain seen in people who are very active on their feet. It is often seen in athletes, people active at work, and in large framed of overweight individuals. It starts as a dull ache or intermittent pain in the heel and sometimes progresses to a sharp persistent pain. Pain is most often felt at the inner part of the heel and may extend into the arch. It is most evident when you first get out of bed and put weight on your feet, it resolves with some walking. It is also noticed at the beginning of spots activities or by standing up on the feet after sitting for a period of time. Treatment should be started as soon as possible. If left untreated, the continuous inflammatory reaction at the heel bone may produce “spike-like” heel spurs.