Waves are powerful forces. As they crash against cliffs, they can wear away stone. Waves in storms can punch through levees, sink ships, and wash away homes. Water isn’t the only medium for a powerful wave, however. Big sound waves can shatter glass. High-frequency sound waves can display pictures of the body through ultrasound. Shockwave therapy uses waves of energy to treat pain in soft tissues.
How Shockwave Therapy Works
Also called extracorporeal shockwave therapy, or ESWT, this noninvasive treatment uses energy waves to stimulate healing in soft tissues of the body. Typically it’s reserved for treating soft tissues like the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon that are chronically painful and not responding to anything else. Powerful acoustic waves are directed at the damaged tissues, where it stimulates and speeds up the recovery process.
Exactly how this happens is still being studied. The current understanding is that the powerful energy aggravates the body and tricks it into responding right away. More blood with nutrients and healing factors are brought directly to the feet. This encourages faster and better healing, as well as alleviates your pain.
Why You Might Need It
Although this is a noninvasive treatment, it’s typically reserved for conditions that aren’t responding to more traditional conservative methods. It’s one step in between the conservative remedies and surgery. In the feet, it’s most commonly used to treat chronic plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. These two conditions are challenging to treat at the best of times, but once they degenerate down and become chronic, they can be particularly difficult to manage. The shockwave therapy stimulates the body’s natural healing response so it actually works on repairing the damaged tissue.
Getting Your Shockwave Therapy
Dr. Sanjay Patel and our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. will carefully examine your lower limbs to determine if extracorporeal shockwave therapy is right for you. They’ll need to confirm that the source of your pain is a soft tissue problem, and make sure that all other conservative methods have been tried and found ineffective. Then we can move forward with this procedure.
There are actually two kinds of shockwave therapy: high energy and low energy. High energy waves are very powerful and may cause pain. Typically you’ll receive mild anesthetic for duration of this procedure. Low energy waves are more mild and do not need any kind of numbing to be effective. Our team will discuss which of these is best for you ahead of time. The procedure itself is relatively quick. Once it’s complete, you’ll need to take it easy for a few days. Cutting back on your activities to let your feet continue to heal is best for your recovery.
Shockwave therapy is not an end-all miracle cure, but it can be incredibly beneficial and helpful for those struggling with chronic pain in their lower limbs. Dr. Sanjay Patel and our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. will work with you to plan out your best path for treatment. Make an appointment with us through our online request forms, or call one of our Connecticut offices: (203) 288-4055 for our Hamden office, or (203) 876-7736 for our Milford one.