Plantar fasciitis is a relatively common foot condition that's characterised by heel pain caused by inflammation along the plantar fascia, which is the band of connective tissue connecting your heel to the ball of your foot. The pain tends to be sharp and is often worse on waking or when you put weight on your feet after a long period of rest. Without treatment, plantar fasciitis can cause muscle weakness along your foot, which can lead to changes in your posture and gait.
Common Causes Of Plantar Fasciitis
There's not always a clear reason when someone develops plantar fasciitis, but the condition can be caused by stress from high-impact exercises, such as running and playing basketball. It can also develop as a result of standing for long periods, being obese or wearing shoes that don't provide sufficient support to the arches of your feet. Poor running technique has also been associated with the condition.
Shockwave therapy is a relatively new treatment approach for plantar fasciitis. It can be used as a first-line treatment and is often the go-to treatment when conservative treatments, such as wearing orthotic insoles and carrying out strengthening exercises, have not been successful. Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment and can prevent the need for surgical detachment of the plantar fascia, which may be recommended if you're experiencing severe pain.
Shockwave therapy involves passing a probe along the skin on your heel. The probe delivers pressure waves to the inflamed tissue, and this additional pressure triggers an immune response that leads to your body forming new blood vessels in the inflamed area. These new blood vessels increase the amount of blood and oxygen that reach the inflamed tissue, which stimulates healing. Some patients experience immediate relief from pain, but you'll typically need to undergo a few treatment sessions to experience lasting relief.
There's no need to rest or allow for recovery time after shockwave therapy, and this treatment approach is suitable for most people. However, you should let your podiatrist know if you have a health condition or if you're pregnant before undergoing the treatment.
If you're experiencing heel pain, or if you've been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and haven't found relief from the traditional forms of treatment for the condition, speak to your podiatrist. They can delve deeper into the treatment process with you and answer any questions you have about shockwave therapy before you book your first session.