Sometimes called extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), shockwave therapy is a noninvasive medical treatment for chronic pain in the heel and other areas of the foot, ankle, and lower leg.
Approved by the FDA, ESWT uses high-intensity sound waves emitted by a special device through the skin without incisions, sedation, or anesthesia. When properly applied by a skilled podiatrist, this therapy can be very effective in:
Shockwave therapy is also used to treat pain in other areas of the body, including the neck, shoulders, and back.
Shockwave therapy uses highly focused waves of sound energy to target specific areas of tissue where damage has occurred. These sound waves create very small areas of controlled damage that work to stimulate the body’s natural healing responses. Plus, the waves promote better circulation and drainage in the area to help reduce inflammation and support optimal healing. The focused nature of the delivery system ensures that surrounding healthy tissues are unaffected by the treatment.
Your physician performs shockwave therapy right in the office using state-of-the-art equipment specifically designed for podiatric treatments. During a treatment session, your provider will apply a special handpiece directly to the area of the foot or ankle that’s symptomatic. As the device emits focused beams of sound energy, your doctor will gently move the handpiece across and around the treatment area to ensure every area receives attention.
You may experience some mild tingling sensations during treatment as the energy is delivered to the treatment area and penetrates the damaged tissues to begin the healing process. Most treatment sessions take about a half hour to complete, depending on the area that’s being treated. It takes about 1-3 months to feel the full effects once the injured area has healed.
Although most people feel some degree of relief from painful symptoms even after a single treatment, the majority of patients need several treatments to achieve meaningful, long-term relief of more severe symptoms. The team at Colorado Foot + Ankle Sports Medicine usually provides additional treatments spaced about a week apart to promote continual healing. There’s no downtime after treatment, so you’ll be able to return to your normal routine immediately afterward.
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