Shockwave therapy was originally used to treat sports-related injuries, but it's now becoming quite common for podiatrists to offer this type of treatment for a wide range of foot problems. As it's still a relatively new treatment, you may not be familiar with it, but it's a drug-free, non-surgical and painless treatment approach that can provide fast relief from pain that's not responded well to more traditional podiatric treatments. Here's an overview of shockwave therapy and the types of foot conditions it can be used for.
How Is Shockwave Therapy Carried Out?
Shockwaves are a type of sound wave that emit high energy and pass through areas of soft tissue. Before shockwave therapy was used in podiatry, it was used in general medicine to dissolve kidney stones. Shockwave therapy involves passing a handheld probe across the part of the body being treated while the probe emits intense sound waves. When these sound waves reach the treatment area, your body begins an immune response that causes an increase of blood flow to the treatment area. Increased blood flow brings with it an increase in oxygen to the treatment area, which stimulates healing and tissue regeneration. It can also have an analgesic effect. Shockwave therapy is considered safe and not considered to produce any side effects, which makes it an attractive treatment option for those who don't like taking medication. You typically require a few sessions of shockwave therapy to experience relief from common foot conditions, and your podiatrist will discuss a treatment plan with you based on your specific circumstances. No aftercare is required with this treatment, so you can go about your day as normal after each session.
What Foot Conditions Are Commonly Treated?
Your podiatrist may suggest shockwave therapy to treat foot conditions affecting the Achilles tendon or heel, such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. As there's no risk involved in this type of treatment, it may also be used to try and treat stubborn chronic pain at the front of the foot, particularly pain caused by a pinched nerve or by putting too much stress on the ball of the foot during exercise. Shockwave therapy may be recommended as a standalone treatment or carried out alongside other treatments, such as massage and foot exercises.
If you'd like to find out more about shockwave therapy or if you're experiencing persistent foot pain, contact a podiatrist in your area that offers this type of treatment.
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