For Lingering Injuries, Think Outside the Box
Ever wonder why professional athletes heal so quickly? Team doctors consider a variety of therapies, from conservative to holistic to emerging, to get their patients back in the game. One such treatment that is endorsed by physicians across a variety of specialties is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT). For the last 15 years, Perimeter Orthopaedics has been using shockwave therapy to help patients heal from a variety of conditions like:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Tennis elbow
- Diabetic ulcers
- Shoulder pain
- Jumpers knee
- And other painful conditions
How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
Shockwave therapy works by emitting high energy pulses. These pulses of energy are delivered to the injured area using an applicator connected to the shockwave therapy device. The shockwaves activate the circulation of new blood and new nerve cells to the injured area. The pulses work by causing trauma to the tissue stimulating the body’s natural healing processes. The result is faster and more complete healing.
How Shockwave Therapy was Discovered
You may be familiar with the term lithotripsy. Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL) uses high energy shock waves to break up kidney and gallstones. It has been around for decades and is the most frequently used procedure for the treatment of kidney stones. Shockwave Therapy stems from this same safe, highly proven, and highly effective technology. "Extracorporeal" means that the shockwaves are generated externally to the body and transmitted from a pad through the skin to the area receiving treatment.
How Effective is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave Therapy is FDA approved for a variety of conditions and there are hundreds of clinical studies proving efficacy. Based on the positive results, the potential of shockwave therapy as a safe, non-invasive treatment for tendonitis and other conditions appears to be emerging. The success rate ranges from 60% to 80% in tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff tendinitis, hip pain, Achilles tendinitis and jumper’s knee.*
Diabetic Foot Ulcers and Shockwave Therapy
While ESWT has been proven effective for tendon and other musculoskeletal injuries, it is also more recently being used for wound healing. Shockwave therapy has shown positive results treating foot ulcers in diabetic patients.** Hundreds of studies exist proving the effectiveness of shockwave therapy. To access studies in efficacy go to: PubMed, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/.
When is it Time to Try Shockwave Therapy?
If you have had your condition for months and have tried a variety of traditional therapies to no avail, it may be time to try something different. Continuing to walk on, or use the injured area will cause further damage and will make healing more difficult in the long run. If the condition progresses to a rupture, the only choice may be surgery. Additionally, if left untreated, new problems may arise. For example, with heel pain, you may limp putting more pressure on the other foot. These reactive movements will, in time, demand that your knees, hips and lower back compensate. Compensation injuries occur whenever you have chronic pain left untreated. Doing nothing equals more and worsening problems.
Where is the Treatment Administered?
With newer and more portable technology, shockwave therapy can be done in the doctor’s office at Perimeter Orthopaedics without anesthesia in about 10 minutes. Side effects are minimal and the cost is reasonable. No fasting, medication or injection is necessary. Routine activities can be resumed the next day.
Take care of yourself. Don’t delay fixing the problem. Overall you will heal in less time and for less money if you take care of the problem sooner rather than later.
Paul Spiegl, M.D.
Diplomate, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Foot and Ankle Specialist