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  • Writer's pictureMy Family Podiatry

What is Shockwave Therapy and How Does It Work for Chronic Pain?

Chronic foot pain can really impact your daily life. It makes simple things like walking, standing, and exercising painful and hard to do. The snowball effect of this is you may end up spending more time sitting, not being active which can lead to weight gain and often increasing your foot pain.

In some more severe cases, this chronic foot pain can even keep you up at night, leaving you tired, less productive and battling the other issues that come from a lack of sleep.

As podiatrists, we have access to a number of treatments to alleviate your pain and restore normal function. One innovative and increasingly popular treatment is shockwave therapy. So, what is shockwave therapy, and how does it work for chronic pain?

How Shockwave Therapy Works

Shockwave therapy treats foot pain by delivering high-energy acoustic waves to the affected area, triggering a series of biological responses that promote healing and alleviate pain.

Your shockwave treatment is performed in the clinic treatment chair and is completely non-invasive, does not require any dressings or downtime from activity. Ultrasound gel is applied to the area that requires treatment and the shockwave applicator will be held by your podiatrist against the skin. The intensity of treatment will be adjusted throughout the session and you can discuss this with your podiatrist based on your tolerance level.

How Effective of Shockwave Therapy in Podiatry Treatment

Shockwave Therapy Can Stimulate Healing and Tissue Regeneration

Shockwave therapy delivers acoustic waves which are conducted via the ultrasound gel into affected structures. These waves act on the tissues to stimulate the body's natural healing response. This leads to increased blood flow and the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients essential for tissue repair.

Reduction of Inflammation and Pain

Shockwave therapy modulates pain by affecting nerve endings and reducing the sensitivity of pain receptors. It helps to disrupt the transmission of pain signals to the brain, allowing you to move more freely with less discomfort.

Help Breaking down Calcium Deposit

In chronic conditions such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis, calcifications can begin to develop at areas of high stress. These calcifications are kind of like scar tissue, the body places them there to heal the damage but they don’t work quite as well as regular tissue. Using shockwave, we help break down these calcium deposits, enabling the tissue to function more appropriately and reduce pain.

Promotes Collagen Production

Collagen is the building block of ligaments, tendons and fascia. When these structures are damaged, the collagen fibres become jumbled and no longer work in the way they should. Shockwave therapy promotes the production and realignment of these collagen fibres, improving the healing process and speeding up your recovery.

Can My Foot Pain Be Treated with Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy is most effective in the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, tissue damage, impaired healing, and calcification. By stimulating biological repair processes, improving blood flow, and reducing pain, shockwave therapy offers a versatile and effective solution for a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders including:

  • Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the plantar fascia, causing heel pain.

  • Achilles Tendinopathy: Degeneration of the Achilles tendon, leading to pain and stiffness.

  • Heel Spurs: Bony outgrowths that cause pain in the heel.

  • Other Tendinopathies: Various tendon issues that can cause chronic foot pain.

How Long Does Shockwave Therapy Take to Work

The timeline for shockwave therapy to work can vary depending on your condition.

Some people will experience an improvement immediately however these results may only last 3-4 days. With each subsequent treatment, these improvements tend to last longer as the condition is resolved. Physiological changes continue for up to 6 weeks after the final treatment is performed, with the full effects evident after this time period.

Most people need about 3 to 5 sessions, spaced a week apart, with each session lasting 15 to 20 minutes.

How quickly you see results can depend on how severe your condition is, your overall health, and how well you follow post-treatment care. Regular check-ups and combining shockwave therapy with other treatments like physical therapy and custom foot orthotics can also help speed up recovery.

To find out if shockwave therapy is right for your chronic foot pain, consult with our team of Albany Creek Podiatrists at My Family Podiatry. Our specialists in foot and ankle conditions will assess your specific situation and recommend the best treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Don't let foot pain hold you back—schedule your consultation today!

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