Shock wave therapy is a relatively new treatment of foot and ankle pain. An acoustic sound wave similar to one used for lithotripsy can cause a hyperanalgesia effect reducing pain and can cause breakdown and neovascularization of chronically damaged tissue. Often the benefits from EPAT are experienced after only three treatments or within four weeks of initiating therapy.
In fact, some patients even report immediate relief after the treatment, although it can take two treatments to experience significant relief. Since the treatment eliminates pain and restores full mobility, it can noticeably improve a patient’s quality of life. Make an appointment today to find out more about this conservative treatment option.
How does Shockwave Therapy work?
Low frequency sound waves, also known as shock waves, are aimed at the injured area through a hand held applicator.
The shock waves penetrate deep into the soft tissues, stimulating blood flow, accelerating the body’s natural healing process.
By design, ESWT stimulates the body’s healing process by electronically inducing microtrauma to the tissue, which triggers increased blood flow and nutrient delivery to the affected area. While results and length of treatment will depend on the severity of the condition, patients tend to get the best results from a series of three or more treatments, which generally take 15 minutes each. While most patients start ESWT to treat plantar fasciitis, this therapy is extremely versatile; it can also be used for Achilles tendonitis and heel “spurs” alike.
There is both a high-energy and low-energy form of shock wave treatment. Both forms can be used in the treatment of these conditions.
Low-energy shock wave treatments are given as a series of three or more treatments. The low-energy shock waves are not painful, or mildly painful.
By contrast, the high-energy shock wave treatments are given at one session. High-energy shock wave treatments are quite painful, and often some type of anesthesia is needed. Either a regional block or general anesthesia can be administered for the high-energy treatments.
Shock wave therapy is thought to work by inducing microtrauma to the tissue that is affected by these problems. This microtrauma initiates a healing response by the body.
The healing response causes blood vessel formation and increased delivery of nutrients to the affected area. The microtrauma is thought to stimulate a repair process and relieve the symptoms of pain.
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