Heel pain is an annoying condition that aggravates you with every step. This foot pain has a number of causes, but is often due to injury or overuse of the tendons or fascia in your foot. Heel pain can sometimes heal on its own with rest, but other times, medical treatments are necessary. Shock wave treatments might be helpful and they could be worth trying if you're facing surgery for your condition. Here's how these treatments help heel pain and how they're done.
Why Shock Wave Therapy Helps Heel Pain
This type of treatment delivers shock waves deep into the tissues of your heel. The waves are strong enough to break up adhesions that might be contributing to your pain. The treatments also increase blood circulation in the area, and more blood means more nutrients and oxygen that are needed for tissue repair. You might experience quick relief after a single session, but it's likely you'll need multiple treatments, and you may notice a gradual improvement in your pain instead.
How The Treatments Are Given
These treatments are given in your podiatrist's office during a quick procedure that only takes several minutes to complete. The shock waves may cause a stinging sensation, but they aren't painful, so you don't need to be put to sleep or have anesthetic. If you've ever had an ultrasound test done or seen one done, then you can expect a similar experience with shock wave therapy. The podiatrist applies gel to your heel and then moves a small device across the gel that delivers the waves through your skin into the tissues below.
You may need to limit strenuous activities for a couple of days, but there is no downtime needed for shock wave treatments. You can go back to work right away and resume usual daily activities. This type of therapy could be worth trying if your heel pain won't heal and surgery is in your future. Shock wave treatments don't need an incision, hospitalization, or anesthesia, so they have little risk of side effects and they might be the answer for healing your pain.
Some medical conditions may prevent you from undergoing this treatment, so you'll need to discuss your medical history with your podiatrist and find out if shock wave therapy is a good match. This therapy isn't always the first choice in treatment since heel pain can often clear up given time and using orthotic devices, but when it's indicated, shock wave therapy may speed healing of the injured tissues so you can finally get relief from your severe or chronic pain.
For more information, contact a podiatrist in your area.