The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Go Go Gadget Shock Wave: Extracorporeal Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Posted by on Monday, March 4th, 2013


Are you ready for an out of body experience? Is a superhero going to blast your plantar fasciitis with his ray? Perhaps a sonic boom is about to ripple the air around your injury, triggering science fiction-y cellular regeneration. What if it’s a cyber wave, delivered through a mild mannered email newsletter? (Just touch your feet to the screen, this is the future!) Or maybe a medium is going to séance an evil spirit out of your foot, curing you with a good old-fashioned exorcism. There’s no doubt, the names we’re giving to our futuristic technologies are right out of the pages of the best comic books (which makes me think maybe some of these doctors are a little geekier than they let on.) Modern medicine is pretty incredible, and this plantar fasciitis therapy is right on the cutting edge. And no, I really didn’t intend a pun there. This is a therapy in which no cutting is required.



As faithful readers or plantar fasciitis sufferers already know, this is an extremely common disorder of the plantar fascia, that band of tissue in the arch of your foot. It’s a reasonably easy area to injure, considering how often you use it and how pivotal it is to the functioning of your foot (yes, dear reader, that pun was intended). Very tight calf muscles, regular intense exercising, and age itself are all risk factors for the disorder. Sometimes its mild and goes away with some rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. Other times it becomes chronic, causing truly debilitating pain and discomfort.



So what’s this space-y new treatment all about? Well, it’s all about the sound waves. Like in an ultrasound, sound waves are used to stimulate healing. But unlike traditional ultrasounds, EXSW is more intense. It may cause swelling, bruises, pain, tingling, or numbness. But this over-stimulation can be very helpful. When the nerves are stimulated beyond what they normally experience, their sensitivity may be reduced. Reduced nerve sensitivity means reduced pain. It’s not known exactly how EXSW stimulates healing. It is effective for breaking up scar tissue and does increase circulation in the foot, so perhaps it is simply those two factors combined that get results. Clinical trials have shown it to be both safe and effective. Just a rather interesting aside: this therapy has been used to treat horse injuries for years.



Is this treatment for me? Well, if you’re a chronic sufferer (you’ve been experiencing pain for longer than three months, EXSW may be a good option. To know for sure, you’ll need to visit a podiatrist (try The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine). There are a few important benefits to this treatment. It’s non-invasive. Your doctor can perform the procedure in his office in about 10 minutes. And, if it doesn’t work, you’ll still be a candidate for the wide variety of alternative treatments.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.