Heel pain is one of the most common foot ailments seen at most podiatry offices and unfortunately it can also be very challenging to treat as well. The key to treating heel pain is finding the root cause of the problem. At Advanced Podiatry, we have developed novel treatments that are not available in a typical podiatry office to help get you better, quicker.
Here is a partial list of possible causes of heel pain
- Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis (PF) being the most common cause is what we will focus on in this blog. PF is usually identified by the classic symptoms of pain with the first step in the morning or after periods of rest, and also relief of pain after walking for a period of time. The quality of pain is usually described as sharp and achy. Approximately 90% of the patients that suffer from PF can be treated with simple conservative measures such as orthotics, icing, steroid injections, and stretching exercises. Unfortunately that remaining 10% of the population exists and therefore we have to resort to alternative methods of treatment in order to alleviate their chronic pain.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is a technology that has existed over a 1/4 of a century and is still being used today. Many world-renowned sports medicine institutions routinely use it to help remedy common musculoskeletal problems that athletes suffer from…but what is it exactly? In its simplest definition ESWT is a technology that utilizes energy to stimulate healing and regeneration in the body at sites that are injured. It does this by sending a shock wave of energy from the machine through the body, and the physician is able to focus that energy directly to the site of injury. The energy stimulates cells that create your bones and also cells that regrow cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. Some studies show benefits of ESWT in healing chronic wounds such as diabetic or vascular ulcerations of the skin.
In addition to its ability to heal and regrow injured or diseased soft tissue and bone, ESWT can also be used to alleviate chronic pain. It does this by over stimulating nerves and causing the body to shut off and reset its pain cycle. Essentially people with chronic pain can develop a low threshold for pain and thus light stimuli can cause that person to feel great pain. The brain sets that threshold so therefore if we can raise the bar at which pain is perceived then we can alleviate the symptoms simply by using ESWT to reset the nerves’ pain threshold level.
The process of ESWT is simple: We apply the head to the bottom of the foot and deliver 2000 pulses of energy to the plantar fascia. There is minimal discomfort if any during this process and it usually takes less than 20 minutes to complete the treatment in the office. This helps avoid costly surgery center and hospital bills in this age of large deductibles. The relief of pain is almost immediate thanks to the resetting of the nerves to the area and this relief can last for an extended period of time. Up to 3 treatments will be needed to alleviate chronic PF and about 80% of patients express relief after this process.
At Advanced Podiatry we try to give the patient as many conservative options as possible and I believe this separates us from traditional podiatry offices. In addition, we believe that you get better when you receive multiple treatments as part of a treatment plan. So in addition to the ESWT we have developed a superior treatment protocol to give you better results. We use ESWT in combination with Prolotherapy and Ozone Therapy. This triad of treatments is far more successful than ESWT alone and is only offered at Advanced Podiatry in Tampa.
It is important to understand that ESWT is not for everyone but it does have its place in treating chronic heel pain especially for plantar fasciitis. The next form of treatment we will be discussing is Topaz with Platelet Rich Plasma therapy. Please check our blog site frequently to attain valuable information regarding your foot health.
To be continued…
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