There's no getting around it: Foot pain makes it tough. But where do you turn? Stretching seems fruitless, you can't afford to take a break from your routine, and Your standby over-the-counter methods only mask your symptoms.
Why not turn to the experts?
Dr. Maurice Aiken and our Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists offer our patients the best, most advanced treatments that help you get back on your feet faster — sans scalpel. Here’s what you should know about our most popular plantar fasciitis treatment: high-energy extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT).
Peeking under the hood
Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition affecting your feet' plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that extends from your heel bone, runs along the bottom of your foot to create the arch, and then fans out and attaches to each toe.
Without your plantar fascia, you wouldn't be able to move efficiently (if at all). This tough band of connective tissue creates the arch in your foot, which absorbs shock, supports dynamic foot mechanics, and propels your movements.
Unfortunately, every time you put weight on your foot, the pressure on your plantar fascia increases. Your feet can take that pressure for a while. Still, eventually, age, a sudden increase in activity levels, and even obesity take their toll, and you wind up with a condition called plantar fasciitis.
When you're handed a plantar fasciitis diagnosis, that means you have inflammation and small micro tears in your plantar fascia and, as a result, excruciating heel pain. Typically, the pain is worse with your first few steps in the morning.
Many (especially athletes) may be tempted to play through pain, especially when the pain seems to get better as the day progresses. However, letting plantar fasciitis go unchecked can result in heel pain that impacts your daily routine, and you may even start to change how you walk to avoid your symptoms, which can impact your feet, knees, hips, and back.
And that's where we come in.
Our advanced approach to an age-old problem
Millions of folks struggle with plantar fasciitis every year — but most don't know some of the best-kept secrets for relief and are still stuck trying to stretch and rest their pain away. At Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists, we offer some of the industry's leading technology that safely and quickly addresses plantar fasciitis — no scalpel required.
One of our most popular treatments is high-energy extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). This non-surgical procedure involves delivering shockwaves into your heel to stimulate your body's natural healing process.
The high-energy shockwaves improve blood flow to the inflamed area of your foot, significantly speeding up your ability to heal.
What to expect before, during, and after
We conduct a thorough review of your health history and your current symptoms to make sure that ESWT is right for you. Almost all our patients are candidates since it's a nonsurgical, low-risk procedure.
If we clear you for ESWT treatments to tackle plantar fasciitis, there are a few ways you can do to prepare. For instance, we recommend pausing anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin or ibuprofen for a few days before the treatment.
ESWT treatments are gentle and efficient; you should feel relaxed the entire time. When you arrive for your appointment, you can expect the following:
- You lie down on your stomach with a pillow supporting your legs
- You may get some local or sedation anesthesia to keep you comfortable
- We apply ultrasound gel on your heel area to make sure the shockwaves travel well
- We use a hand-held probe attached to the shockwave machine to deliver the shockwaves
These pulses might feel discomfort during your treatment, and you might even hear a tapping sound from the probe. The whole process takes around 10-20 minutes per foot.
The best news is that ESWT is an outpatient procedure, so you can expect to be in and out on the same day — no need for an overnight stay.
Depending on your case’s severity, you might need 2-3 sessions — the more severe, the more sessions you might require.
Taking care after ESWT
Our patients love ESWT because it allows them to walk and return to their regular activities right away, but we recommend giving your foot a bit of a break; rest and elevate it for a day or two.
It’s best to avoid any heavy lifting, hardcore exercises, or high-impact workouts for at least two days while your foot responds to ESWT, but you can do some gentle stretching the day after the procedure.
Over-the-counter pain meds can help temper lingering pain if you're feeling discomfort.
Finally, remember to attend your follow-up appointments. Meeting with us post-treatment helps us track your progress and ensure you’re healing as you should.
Have more questions about plantar fasciitis and how ESWT can help? Call our friendly staff at 727-285-9684 or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment at our Dunedin, Florida, office today.