Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), also referred to as shockwave therapy, is a relatively new and non-invasive treatment approach that involves applying shock waves to injured soft tissue to alleviate pain and facilitate healing. Shockwave therapy has shown to be an excellent alternative to consider for many patients experiencing the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and Achilles tendinitis that have not been alleviated with other types of conservative interventions.
If you’re suffering from chronic foot pain and contemplating going for shockwave therapy, here are five simple tips to make it work for you.
1.) Consult a podiatrist.
A podiatrist specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the full range of foot and ankle problems. Your podiatrist should set proper expectations about and during the procedure and equip you with all the information (such as its indications, contraindications, and benefits) that you need.
The treatment is very quick: you’ll be out of your doctor’s office in less than 30 minutes. During your appointment, you’ll lie comfortably on a treatment table as your podiatrist runs the instrument over the injured area. The popping sounds that you will hear are the shock waves being delivered onto the area. Expect to feel some discomfort—but it’s nothing unbearable. Tell your podiatrist to adjust the intensity if you have very low pain tolerance.
2.) Follow your podiatrist’s recommendations about the frequency of your treatment.
While you can expect immediate symptom relief afterward, know that it takes time for your body to fully heal. Depending on the severity of your injury/condition, you may need to do it a few times every week until you achieve your desired result.
3.) Discuss with your podiatrist other treatment options that can be used in conjunction with shockwave therapy.
Shockwave therapy may be used either as a standalone treatment or as an adjunct to other treatment modalities. Ask your doctor about other options that work well with it so as to achieve the best outcomes.
Your podiatrist may recommend that you use shoe orthotics, do some stretching exercises, or employ the R.I.C.E. method (rest, ice, compression, elevation).
4.) Continue with your self-care measures.
You may experience some minor bruising and puffiness in the treated area. This is temporary and should subside within a few days. You can go about your day after your session, but you need to refrain from doing strenuous activities to avoid feeling sore. Your podiatrist may prescribe pain medications after the procedure; take them as prescribed.
5.) Listen to your body.
It pays to listen to your body and understand your susceptibility to injuries, especially if you’re involved in sports. Refrain from activities that caused the pain and the rest of your symptoms in the first place. If this is not possible, at least, know when to stop.
Although shockwave therapy has shown to effectively address many types of foot and ankle injuries, it does not make you invulnerable to reinjury.
Shockwave Therapy in South Texas
At The Podiatry Group of South Texas, our team of board-certified podiatrists offers shockwave therapy and other leading-edge treatment modalities to address the full spectrum of conditions and injuries that affect the foot and ankle. What makes our providers a cut above the rest is that we care deeply about our patients and strive to give them the best treatment outcomes, regardless of their condition.
To learn more about shockwave therapy or to schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists, call us at (210) 227-8700. You may also fill out our appointment request form. We have 14 offices at which to serve you.