Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is used to treat chronic plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the fibrous tissue that runs along the arch of the foot to connect the heel bone and ball of the forefoot. Since the plantar fascia is subjected to great amounts of impact and pressure while supporting the foot’s arch, it can become inflamed and irritated. In some cases, it begins to deteriorate.
To treat chronic plantar fasciitis that does not respond to more conservative treatments, ESWT uses shock waves to subject the plantar fascia to microtrauma, which in turn promotes the tissue to heal and repair. ESWT can be administered using low-energy or high-energy shock waves. Low-energy shock waves delivered over a series of sessions. This form of treatment results in mild to no pain. High-energy shock wave treatments are administered in one session but are painful and require anesthesia. Both procedures are done on an outpatient basis.