Acoustic Shockwave Therapy for Chronic Conditions of the Foot and Ankle

Acoustic shock wave therapy

Do you have chronic foot, ankle, or lower leg pain? Have you failed conservative treatment options such as oral medications, orthotics, cortisone injections, braces and other modalities? Are you interested in a non-surgical treatment option for chronic pain, fasciitis, tendonitis, or other chronic trigger point pain?

Then shockwave therapy may be an effective option for you.

What is Shockwave therapy or EPAT?

Extracorporal Pulse Activation Technology, or Acoustic Shockwave Therapy, is another name for this evidence-based, non surgical  treatment method.

What is the science behind shockwave therapy and how does it work?

Acoustic shockwaves carry energy to painful spots, musculoskeletal trigger points, and painful scarred down tissue. It specifically works best for subacute and chronic conditions and tendonitis. The interaction of this generated energy is thought to stimulate the target tissue and promote healing. A concept in physics is that energy is neither created nor destroyed but rather transferred. This transferred energy is used to break up old, painful, adhesive scar tissue, fibrosis, calcifications, and muscular spasms, and trigger points. In addition, it alters cell membrane permeability. This in turn increases local circulation and recruits fresh healing cells and reprograms the body’s wound healing phase from a stagnant, chronic, damaged tissue environment, to a fresh healing environment.

Does shockwave therapy hurt?

Recreating a fresh healing environment at first may feel tender or uncomfortable, but the pulses generated will eventually cause the nerve impulses to be in a refractory period, translating into the targeted tissue feeling temporarily numb during treatment.

What kind of shockwave therapies are there?

Equipment used for shockwave therapy vary in design, depending on the way shockwaves are generated and the level of energy that is reached. They are usually created by electrohydraulic, electromagnetic, or piezoelectric mechanisms. The form available in Certified Foot & Ankle Specialists’ St Petersburg office is through an electrohydraulic mechanism, referred to as radial shockwave therapy, or RSWT. RSWT is a low to medium energy shockwave that is pneumatically generated through pulsing of a projectile inside the handpiece of the device. This energy is then transmitted radially from the tip of the handpiece applied directly to the target tissue using ultrasound gel as a skin transducer. 

For more information on shockwave therapy, please come visit us at Certified Foot & Ankle specialists as we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

By Dr. Felipe Peterson D.P.M.

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