820 East Hillsboro Blvd.
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Heel Pain Shockwave Therapy

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is used to treat chronic heel pain (plantar fasciitis). “Extracorporeal” means “outside of the body.” During this noninvasive procedure, sonic waves are directed at the area of pain using a device similar to that currently used in nonsurgical treatment of kidney stones.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy is prescribed for patients who have experienced plantar fasciitis for an extended period of time — six months or more — and have not benefited from other conservative treatments. The brief procedure lasts about 10 minutes and is performed without local anesthesia. Strong sound waves are directed at and penetrate the heel area to stimulate a healing response by the body.

This therapy is a safe and effective alternative treatment for heel pain and only requires a short recovery time. Clinical studies show a 70% success rate for treatment of plantar fasciitis using Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy.

Radialwave Therapy

Dr. Dorfman has recommended Radialwave therapy for the treatment of your orthopedic pain. Recently our office was a part of a large study to test the effectiveness of extracorpol shockwave therapy (ESWT) for the treatment of chronic and acute pain of the heel.

Dr. Dorfman was one of the first podiatrists to receive training with ESWT in 2004. ESWT had just recently received FDA approval in the United States. Extracorpol Shockwave therapy has been used in Europe for over 30 years. Dr. Dorfman has performed over 400 ESWT procedures and has seen outstanding results.

ESWT is a non-invasive, non-surgical, non-painful procedure that requires no needles and no anesthesia. Treatments are fairly quick and usually patients can see immediate relief.

Shockwave works by sending pneumatic wave energy to the area of pain or trauma. The result of the wave produces and analgesic (pain relieving) effect to the treated area. The body releases a substance P, at the cellular level and this promotes the dilation (expansion) of blood vessels which stimulates growth factors (healing factors) and this in turn stimulates the formation of new blood vessels. The new blood vessels allow for tissue regeneration and repair of tendon and bone, while blocking the pain stimulus of the nerve endings.

Our office has been selected to continue the shockwave study by using a Radial Spec unit from the Medispec company. We used this in office equipment to follow 40 patients over a three month period. The protocol involved all types of heel pain patients, those patients with acute (early) onset heel pain and those (SPACE) with chronic (long suffering) heel pain. The study included both men, women, young, old, active and inactive. The results were very promising in that after four treatments the average pain relief was 84%. After three months, all but two of the forty patients maintained or showed marked improvement. These results were verifiable clinically using ultrasound imaging. These patients were able to return to strenuous activity in as early as four weeks, most taking ten weeks.

The Florida Sun-Sentinel has mentioned that this type of shockwave has been used to treat Miami Heat player Dwayne Wade’s knee. The article mentions a 75-80% success rate. We continue to be excited about offering our patients the latest and most cutting edge technology.


Heel Pain — Key Messages

  • Heel pain, if detected early, can be treated with conservative treatment options. However, typically the longer you have untreated heel pain, the more difficult it is to successfully treat.
  • Plantar fasciitis is the number one cause of heel pain. It is often successfully treated with options such as custom orthotics, injections, prescription medications, physical therapy, and immobilization.
  • According to a recent survey from the American Podiatric Medical Association, heel pain is the number one foot ailment Americans have experienced the most.
  • Although plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, the condition can determine if your heel pain may be due to other causes including nerve or tendon problems.
  • Plantar fasciitis is often confused with heel spurs. Heel spurs, however, generally do not cause heel pain on their own.
  • When wearing uncomfortable, ill-fitting shoes, 45 percent of Americans said they experienced heel pain.
  • There are steps you can take to avoid heel pain, including wearing shoes that fit well, wearing the proper shoes for each activity, not wearing shoes with excessive or unevenly worn heels or soles and preparing properly before exercising.
  • Nearly 40 percent of Americans revealed foot pain has inhibited them performing life’s daily activities. Foot pain is never normal. If you experience foot pain, see an APMA podiatric physician.