Encinitas Foot Doctor
Encinitas Podiatry Group
501 N. El Camino Real
Suite 201
Encinitas, CA 92024

760-436-8667   phone
760-436-2292   fax


Approximately 2 million Americans suffer from plantar fasciitis. Treatment using Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is an option in about 5 to 10 percent of those cases. The remainder can be adequately addressed with more conservative therapies including rest, physical therapy, heel cushions, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc), cortisone injections, taping, orthotics, shoe modifications, night splinting and casting.

Prior to undergoing ESWT treatment, the patient must have been diagnosed with chronic plantar fasciitis for at least six months. Only after the patient's symptoms fail to respond to three conservative treatments should ESWT be administered. In years past, surgical intervention for chronic plantar fasciitis was required when these other treatments had failed. Today, ESWT is available as an alternative, non-invasive treatment option.

ESWT uses shockwaves generated from a special ESWT device focused onto the targeted tissue. The shockwaves are delivered outside the body to trigger an individual's own repair mechanisms. The concept behind shockwave therapy in orthopedic disorders is that the shockwave stimulates and reactivates healing to encourage revascularization and other elements necessary to advance normal tissue healing. Additionally, shockwaves help to over-stimulate pain transmission nerves, which can lead to a reduction in sensitivity and pain.

Benefits of ESWT

  • Stimulates your body's own healing
  • Compared to surgery, ESWT has fewer side effects
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Risks associated with surgery and general anesthesia are eliminated

The most common patient complaint is some minor pain or discomfort during and after treatment. Other side effects might include minor skin bruising, reddening, or swelling of the treated area. However, these possible occurrences usually resolve within a few days.

Click here to view video.

ESWT Treatment is Not For Everyone

Your health history should be reviewed with your doctor to see if this treatment is appropriate for you. ESWT is not recommended for patients with certain conditions. Patients with pacemakers and patients taking medications that may prolong or interfere with blood clotting (coumadin) are not candidates for ESWT. Also, children or pregnant women are not considered appropriate candidates for ESWT. ESWT is not appropriate for individuals suffering from acute plantar fasciitis.

ESWT Procedure Information

On the day of the procedure, you should arrive at the treatment location approximately one half hour before the scheduled appointment. There you will meet your physician and the ESWT technician. After fulfilling the brief registration requirements, you will recline in a comfortable chair or bed with your injured foot resting on a large, fluid-filled cushion.

Typically, an ankle block utilizing local anesthetics is administered to numb the afflicted area. Other methods of anesthesia may be used upon your physician's request. After localizing the inflamed fascia, the injured heel receives several thousand shockwaves during this 20 minute outpatient procedure.

Post operatively patients are discharged directly home from the treatment centers. Your physician will provide post-treatment instructions imperative to your recovery.

DISCLAIMER: *MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS BEING PROVIDED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATION PURPOSES AND IS NOT MEANT TO REPLACE THE DIAGNOSIS OR CARE PROVIDED BY YOUR OWN MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease or prescribing any medication. Visit a health care professional to proceed with any treatment for a health problem.

»  Back to Top