Blog 29 - Shockwave Therapy For Plantar Fasciitis | How Many Sessions Of Shockwave Therapy For Plantar Fasciitis

Blog 29 – Shockwave Therapy For Plantar Fasciitis | How Many Sessions Of Shockwave Therapy For Plantar Fasciitis

Are you someone struggling from all-too-common heel pain, referred to as plantar fasciitis?  

If so, you’ve likely researched several heel pain solutions and heard of shockwave therapy, but it might still be a mystery to you. This method, emerging as a promising pain relief technique, has sparked significant interest and debate among healthcare professionals. 

While some swear by its efficacy, citing clinical studies where patients experienced profound relief, others call for a more cautious approach, pointing to the need for further research to be sufficiently sure of its place as a tried and tested heel pain remedy.

At Bellevue Podiatry, we have spent many years researching and trialing shockwave therapy with industry leading medical equipment and have come to our own conclusion after treating hundreds of patients. 

Shockwave therapy is not a one size fits all solution for heel pain, and in this blog we will walk you through everything you need to know about shockwave therapy and whether it is something you should consider for resolving your heel pain. 

Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

For those new to heel pain, plantar fasciitis, a leading cause of plantar heel pain, stems from the irritation, inflammation, and thickening of the plantar fascia ligament, essential in distributing weight and supporting the arch.  

The plantar fascia, a robust fibrous structure, bridges the heel bone to the toes, playing a pivotal role in foot biomechanics. This condition manifests when undue stress disrupts the normal functioning of this ligament, leading to discomfort and impaired mobility. 

In understanding this ailment, it’s important to recognise the signs and risk factors contributing to its onset. Symptoms typically include a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel, particularly pronounced during the first steps after waking or extended periods of rest.

podiatrists near condition
Heel pain is far more common than you think. The good news is that it is readily treatable and you don't need to put up with it any longer.

Are you someone who dreads those first steps out of bed in the morning?  You’re not alone.  Factors such as excessive weight, inadequate footwear, and occupations requiring prolonged standing exacerbate the risk of developing plantar fasciitis. 

Generally speaking, effective management of plantar fasciitis hinges on a thorough and tailored approach, incorporating rest, physical therapy, and supportive measures to alleviate strain on the plantar fascia.  

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that has emerged as a promising heel pain solution, offering substantial pain relief and functional improvement. This modality, necessitating several sessions, capitalises on acoustic waves to stimulate healing within the tissue, marking a significant advance in plantar fasciitis care. 

Exploring Shock wave Therapy

Given the limitations of some of the more traditional treatments for plantar fasciitis, shockwave therapy offers a scientifically supported, non-invasive option for pain relief and tissue healing. This method, harnessing high-energy sound waves, targets the afflicted area to foster both immediate and lasting improvements. 

High energy sound waves

These are directed at the affected area, stimulating the body’s natural healing processes.

Non-invasive and safe

The procedure is minimally uncomfortable, with sessions typically lasting only about five minutes, and intensity levels adjustable based on patient tolerance.

Session frequency

For best outcomes, patients usually undergo 3 to 6 sessions, scheduled a week apart. Many do report significant pain relief after just the first session.

Mechanism of action

Shockwave therapy promotes tissue healing by creating microtrauma that initiates the formation of new blood vessels, stimulates nerve endings for pain reduction, breaks down calcifications, and enhances cell permeability.

Leveraging this approach, studies have shown that 44% – 80% of patients experience a substantial reduction in pain, positioning shockwave therapy as a highly effective treatment modality for plantar fasciitis, with quick pain resolution and lower risks of complications compared to surgical interventions. 

What is crucial in achieving this level of success for heel pain reduction through shockwave therapy is accurately diagnosing the root cause of the patient’s heel pain. It is also important to understand the history of their heel pain and what other treatments, if any, they have tried previously. As mentioned at the start of this blog, at Bellevue Podiatry we have many years of experience and hands on research that gives us a high level of confidence to know which patients will respond well to shockwave therapy. 

Benefits of Shockwave Treatment

Shockwave therapy’s ability to greatly decrease plantar fascia thickness and alleviate pain offers a compelling, non-invasive treatment option for sufferers of heel pain.  

Our experience is that patients find the treatment process straightforward and relatively quick, with sessions spaced about a week apart. Typically, three to six sessions are necessary for best results, though many patients report significant pain relief following just the initial treatment. This rapid response can be attributed to the therapy’s stimulation of the body’s natural healing processes, enhancing tissue repair and reducing inflammation. 

Furthermore, the safety profile of shockwave therapy is another benefit. Its non-invasive nature minimises risks, making it a much safer alternative to surgical interventions. Side effects are very rare and very mild if they occur, ensuring that you can return to daily activities with minimal downtime. 

shockwave therapy melbourne

What Level Of Pain Will I Experience With Shockwave Treatment On My Foot?

While discussing the benefits of shockwave treatment, it’s important to address the experience of pain and the procedural aspects of undergoing therapy for plantar fasciitis

You might be concerned about the discomfort associated with any medical procedure, especially one targeting a painful condition like plantar fasciitis. However, evidence and patient feedback highlight a minimal pain experience during shockwave therapy. 

Pain during treatment is minimal

with most patients only experiencing slight pressure or discomfort. This is important because it allows you to undergo therapy without the added stress of anticipating severe pain.

The active session duration is about five minutes

…and the intensity of the shockwave can be adjusted. This customisation ensures that the therapy isn’t only effective but also tolerable for you.

Communicating any discomfort allows for real-time adjustments

Your podiatrist can modify the intensity, ensuring the therapy remains within your comfort threshold.

Pain relief can be experienced after one session

…and the effectiveness of the therapy is cumulative, requiring typically 3 to 6 sessions for the best results.

How Many Sessions Of Shockwave Therapy For Plantar Fasciitis

This recommendation stems from clinical evidence indicating that the number of sessions directly correlates with the degree of pain relief and healing achieved. Most patients report significant pain reduction after just one session, highlighting the therapy’s effectiveness. However, to maximise outcomes, sessions are typically spaced about a week apart. 

The therapy’s regimen may vary, with some individuals requiring additional sessions to achieve further pain reduction or healing. This variability underscores the importance of tailoring the treatment plan to each patient’s specific needs and response to therapy. The clinical goal is to not only alleviate pain but to promote long-term healing of the plantar fascia. We want that heel pain gone once and for all so you can get back to doing the things you enjoy in life. 

Given the evidence-based approach to determining the number of required sessions, it’s critical for patients to adhere to the recommended schedule. Deviations could potentially impact the therapy’s efficacy. Continuous assessment by your podiatrist ensures that the treatment plan remains aligned with the patient’s progress and therapeutic goals, allowing for adjustments as necessary. 

Summing It All Up...

That was a lot of information and we hope you found it useful, especially if you’re someone who is struggling with heel pain and is yet to try shockwve therapy.  

To summarise, if you’re grappling with the persistent discomfort of plantar fasciitis, shockwave therapy may offer significant relief – but you need to be professionally assessed by a podiatrist that has many years experience in successfully dealing with heel pain and shockwave therapy.  

There is a fast growing body of clinical evidence supports shockwave therapy’s efficacy in reducing pain and enhancing functionality, outshining placebo treatments in trials – as long as the patient is accurately assessed as being suitable for shockwave therapy. 

Typically, a series of sessions are required for best results. For those seeking a non-invasive solution, shockwave therapy does present a promising avenue for alleviating plantar fasciitis symptoms. 

If you are suffering from persistent heel pain / plantar fasciitis or Achilles Tendinopathy, you may benefit from shockwave therapy.  

Book in online for a consult or call our friendly Reception on (03) 4240 5231 and we can administer shock wave therapy in the session once we have confirmed your suitability.  Quote code NEW75 to only pay $75 for your consultation fee (includes shockwave therapy first session).

Heel Pain

Understand what causes your heel pain and what you can do to get rid of it once and for all. Find out what treatments can get you back to walking pain free so you can enjoy living an active life again!

plantar fasciitis treatments best arch support insoles for plantar fasciitis
Call Now Button