Shockwave Therapy

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At Premier Podiatry Group, we’re committed to the use of non-surgical options whenever possible. To that end, we always strive to add advanced techniques and technologies to our practice that can help our patients overcome their pain.

One option we’re proud to offer is called extracorporeal shockwave therapy, and it’s one of the most effective remedies available for stubborn pain and inflammation that hasn’t responded to more traditional conservative methods. For many, it can provide a long-awaited solution to chronic pain while keeping them out of surgery.

How Shockwave Therapy Works

Shockwave therapy is a regenerative medicine technique. In simple terms, that means it works by stimulating the natural repair mechanisms of your body’s own cells. The “energized” cells then do the work of repairing damaged tissue and alleviating pain.

It does this by delivering high-energy pulses, similar to sound waves, directly into the region of pain and inflammation. A generator initiates electrical charges into a reflective water chamber, then is applied to the skin through the use of an attached hand-held tool.

This provides a kick-start to cellular metabolism and local blood flow, which greatly accelerates the rate of tissue repair. For many, this is exactly the boost they need to finally overcome a nagging, chronic injury that just won’t seem to heal.

The Session and Treatment Course

A single shockwave therapy session typically lasts only 5-10 minutes. We start by providing a local anesthetic and applying a conductive gel to the affected area. This provides two major benefits—one, it reduces the potential for post-treatment pain, and two, it ensures that the force of the waves is transferred efficiently to your tissues. After that, we operate the generator and apply the waves with the applicator using circular motions.

There are few side effects. At most, you may notice very light bruising, swelling, tingling, or a few purple spots. Usually these symptoms resolve very quickly and without incident.

The number of sessions required will vary depending on the patient and the severity of the conditions. However, a majority of people report significant improvement in their symptoms after just 1 or 2 sessions.

Conditions Treated with Shockwave Therapy

Heel pain from chronic plantar fasciitis is probably the condition we treat most frequently with extracorporeal shockwave therapy. However, the technology can be an effective remedy for a wide variety of soft connective tissue injuries involving pain and inflammation, such as Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, and others.

Am I a Good Candidate for Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy is usually recommended as an alternative to surgery for patients who are still struggling with pain despite attempting more traditional conservative remedies first. If techniques like rest, stretching, physical therapy, or orthotics haven’t brought the relief you need after around 6 months, shockwave therapy may be your best option.

Although the procedure is safe and effective, some people should not undergo the procedure. If you are pregnant, use a pacemaker, have certain medical conditions or are taking certain medications, you may not be a good candidate.

Advantages of Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy offers many significant advantages, particularly when compared to surgical intervention.

  • It’s safe. Side effects are generally restricted to minor aches and tingling after the procedure, and they tend to resolve quickly.
  • It’s effective. According to an FDA study, shockwave therapy produced a 92% reduction in pain on average for patients in the study. On a 1-10 pain scale, the patients reported an average rating of 7.7 in the beginning, and 0.6 at the end.
  • It’s quick. Sessions last just a few minutes at a time.
  • It’s unobtrusive. There is no downtime with shockwave therapy. You should be able to return to full weight bearing immediately after a session, although we may ask you to briefly reduce your activity level.

If you have consistent, chronic pain that isn’t responding to your self-care methods, shockwave therapy may be right for you. To learn how we can help, please call Premier Podiatry Group in Ebensburg, PA at (814) 472-2660.