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Radial Pulse Shockwave Therapy (RSWT): Non-Surgical Treatment For Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis) and Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles Tendinitis/Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Pain Syndrome
This encompassing syndrome includes a painful condition of the back or bottom of the heel, arch, and less commonly, the toes that results from inflammation or tearing of the connective tissue (tendon, ligament or elastic band) that stretches from the back of the heel across the arch of the foot into the base of the toes. It may or not be associated with a heel spur, which occurs from chronic pull of the ligament on the heel bone.
In the past, the majority of patients with this condition have been treated with conservative therapy, which has included a combination of rest, physical therapy, stretching, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), corticosteroid injections, strappings, nightsplints, orthotics, and different forms of casting or removable walking boots.
Since most patients are successfully treated without surgery, the goals of conservative treatment are to:
- Treat the acute or sub-acute problem to relieve pain as quickly as possible, provide a cure, and allow patients to painlessly return to their normal activities in a timely manner.
- Treat the chronic problem conservatively so the patient will not eventually require surgery, which can lead to an extended period of disability as well as the possibility of complications.
What Is Radial Pulse Shockwave Therapy (RWST)?
Radial Pulse Shockwave Therapy is an FDA-cleared technology proven to increase the rate of healing for soft tissue injuries and for the relief of painful conditions of the foot and ankle. It is the most advanced non-invasive and highly effective treatment method that enhances blood circulation, accelerates the healing process, and greatly accelerates the healing process causing damaged tissue to gradually regenerate and heal, while during the process, often relieving the pain.
What Conditions Can Be Treated With RSWT?
Many soft tissue foot and ankle conditions can be treated with RSWT including:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles Tendinitis and Tendinosis
- Acute and Chronic Heel Pain
- Other non-specific acute and chronic tendinitis and muscle pains
How Does RSWT Work?
When you experience chronic pain, your body no longer recognizes that there is injury to the area. Therefore, it shuts down process and you feel no relief. The ballistic sound waves penetrate your soft tissue causing micro-trauma or a new inflammatory condition to the treated area. Once this occurs, it increases your body’s natural healing response once again. The energy emitted also causes the cells in the soft tissue to release certain bio-chemicals that intensified body’s natural healing process. The bio-chemicals allow for the building of an array of new microscopic blood vessels in the soft tissue, which facilitate the healing process.
There have been extensive studies done on Low Energy Shockwave Therapy over the past 15 years. These studies, performed on many different conditions of the foot and ankle, show an overall success rate of up to 84%.
How Is RSWT Performed?
The system resembles an ultrasound machine. It is administered once a week for a series of up to five treatments, but often less are necessary. Each treatment takes approximately five minutes and requires no anesthesia.
Who Should Consider RSWT Therapy?
RSWT has a documented proven success rate that is equal or greater than that of traditional treatment methods, including surgery, without the risk of complications and lengthy recovery periods. Less office visits and medication are usually required versus traditional treatment, and patients may bear weight on the foot immediately and resume normal activity the same day. Many patients find a significant and immediate reduction in their pain, while others will feel results gradually after each treatment.
What Are the Possible Side Effects Of RSWT Therapy?
There have been very few side effects reported. Occasionally, mild temporary skin bruising may occur and some patients feel a mild soreness to the area for a day or two afterwards similar to a strenuous workout.
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