Anyone who has suffered from long-term heel pain knows just how debilitating it can be. With pain first thing in the morning or agony after long periods on our feet, this pain can make even the simplest day-to-day activities like washing the dishes or walking the dog a daunting task.
In fact research shows ongoing heel pain can actually have effects on stress levels and negatively affect mental health so it’s definitely not something to be dismissed! (Cotchett, Whittaker & Erbas, 2015).
But what exactly is causing my heel pain?
Pain on the underside of the heel can be caused by a number of reasons, but by far the most common is plantar fasciopathy (or fasciitis).
Plantar fasciopathy put simply, is when the plantar fascia – a fibrous band of connective tissue running from the bottom of the heel into the toes has become overworked, worn down and angry.
But why has this happened to me?
Plantar fasciopathy can be caused by a number of different internal and external factors. Some of the most common include:
- Foot mechanics – flat feet or high arches
- Tight calf muscles
- Weight gain
- Sudden increase in activity
- Inappropriate or unsupportive footwear
- Extended periods standing/walking on hard or unstable surfaces
- Increased age
What is this shockwave therapy you’re talking about and how can it help?
When heel pain has been around a long time roughly 3 months or more we put it in the category of we call a chronic condition – Chronic just meaning something that’s been around a long time.
Heel pain gets a little bit trickier to heal once it becomes chronic as the body internally gets a bit sick and tired, almost used to the pain and is no longer doing a very good job at trying to heal itself.
So we need to wake the body back up and kick-start it back into gear to heal your heel!
This is where shockwave come in!
Shockwaves, or radial shockwaves as they’re known in the biz are high-energy acoustic sound waves, which are transmitted through the skin into the underlying tissues.
This helps to breakdown stiff and rigid tissue in the area, increasing blood flow to stimulate tissue repair and healing factors in the affected area.
Put simply it kick starts the body’s natural healing mechanism.
How long does it take to work?
Everyone responds a little differently to shockwave but a typical treatment protocol will involve 3-5 sessions at weekly intervals.
And the good news is it won’t cost you any extra $$ just a normal appointment!
Will I need any other treatment than shockwave to fix my heel pain?
While the evidence behind shockwave therapy success is very strong, it is only a part of the recovery puzzle.
Shockwave works brilliantly at eliciting a healing response in the body and providing pain relief, but we also to look at the reason the pain has happened in the first place – Too much load on the plantar fascia.
For this we complete a full biomechanical assessment of the way you move, identify the reasons causing the pain and implement strategies to help offload the painful plantar fascia.
These may include a combination of:
- Footwear advice/changes
- Flexible orthotics
- Dry needling
- Strength program
If you have any other questions about shockwave and think this may be suitable for you, message, or book in with one of our Podiatrists for an assessment.