The formal name of the procedure is Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy... ESWT for short. What it can do for people with long term heel pain is truly amazing.
How does it work?
The shock wave machine sends a powerful sound energy pulse into the patient's foot. The machine that sends out the shock wave is very similar to the one doctors have used for years to treat kidney stones without surgery. But as you can see in the picture at left, the machine is relatively small and the energy blast comes out of the head of the machine, which is full of water, and is placed against the patient's foot. The sound waves stimulate the body's natural healing ability.
Does it hurt?
It is slightly uncomfortable, but shock wave therapy is not painful. Doctors fire thousands of pulses into the injured area over a session, which takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Who can have shock wave therapy?
It is only used for patients who have had heel pain for at least six months and who have tried other methods for treating their heel pain.