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  • Writer's pictureLaura Peterson

Focused Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: A Review of Research

Shockwave Therapy in Jackson, WY

Plantar fasciitis, a common condition characterized by pain in the heel and bottom of the foot, affects millions of people worldwide. Traditional treatments include physical therapy, orthotics, medications, and sometimes surgery. However, a relatively newer treatment—focused shockwave therapy—has gained attention for its potential efficacy. This blog delves into the research surrounding focused shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis, exploring its mechanisms, effectiveness, and patient outcomes.

What is Focused Shockwave Therapy?

Focused shockwave therapy (FSWT) involves the application of high-energy sound waves to specific areas of the body. Originally used in urology to treat kidney stones, FSWT has since been adapted for various musculoskeletal conditions, including plantar fasciitis. The therapy works by delivering targeted shockwaves to the affected area, which stimulates healing processes, reduces pain, and enhances tissue regeneration.

Mechanisms of Action

The efficacy of FSWT in treating plantar fasciitis can be attributed to several mechanisms:

  1. Stimulation of Collagen Production: Shockwaves promote the synthesis of collagen, an essential protein for tissue repair and regeneration.

  2. Neovascularization: FSWT induces the formation of new blood vessels, improving blood flow and oxygen supply to the affected area, facilitating healing.

  3. Reduction of Substance P: This neuropeptide, associated with pain and inflammation, is reduced following FSWT, leading to pain relief.

  4. Breakdown of Calcifications: Shockwaves can break down calcifications in the plantar fascia, reducing stiffness and pain.

Research on FSWT for Plantar Fasciitis

Numerous studies have investigated the efficacy of FSWT for plantar fasciitis, with many reporting positive outcomes. Here, we review some of the key findings:

Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)

  1. Study by Gollwitzer et al. (2015):

  • Design: RCT with 40 patients randomized to receive either FSWT or placebo.

  • Results: The FSWT group experienced significant improvements in pain and functional scores at 12 weeks follow-up.

  • Conclusion: FSWT is beneficial for patients with chronic plantar fasciitis, providing significant pain relief and functional improvement.

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

  1. Review by Yin et al. (2014):

  • Scope: Systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 RCTs involving 1,206 patients.

  • Findings: FSWT significantly reduced pain and improved function in patients with plantar fasciitis compared to control treatments.

  • Conclusion: FSWT is a viable treatment option for plantar fasciitis, with a high level of evidence supporting its efficacy.

  1. Review by Aqil et al. (2013):

  • Scope: Systematic review of 10 RCTs.

  • Findings: The majority of studies reported significant pain reduction and functional improvement with FSWT.

  • Conclusion: FSWT is an effective treatment for plantar fasciitis, particularly for patients who do not respond to conservative treatments.

Patient Outcomes and Satisfaction

Patient-reported outcomes and satisfaction levels are crucial indicators of a treatment's success. Studies consistently report high satisfaction rates among patients undergoing FSWT for plantar fasciitis. Most patients experience significant pain relief, improved mobility, and enhanced quality of life following treatment. The non-invasive nature of FSWT, combined with minimal side effects, contributes to its high acceptance and satisfaction among patients.

Safety and Side Effects

FSWT is generally well-tolerated, with a low incidence of adverse effects. Common side effects, if any, are typically mild and transient, including:

  • Localized Pain: Some patients may experience temporary pain at the treatment site.

  • Redness or Swelling: Mild redness or swelling may occur but usually resolves within a few days.

  • Bruising: Rarely, patients may develop minor bruising.

These side effects are minor compared to the potential benefits, making FSWT a safe treatment option for plantar fasciitis.

Comparison with Other Treatments

When compared to traditional treatments like physical therapy, orthotics, and medications, FSWT offers several advantages:

  • Non-Invasiveness: Unlike surgery, FSWT is non-invasive, reducing the risk of complications and recovery time.

  • Efficacy: FSWT often provides quicker and more significant pain relief compared to conservative treatments.

  • Durability: The effects of FSWT are long-lasting, with many patients experiencing sustained improvements.

Conclusion of Research for Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

The growing body of research supports the efficacy of focused shockwave therapy for treating plantar fasciitis. With its ability to stimulate healing, reduce pain, and improve function, FSWT offers a promising alternative to traditional treatments. Patients in Jackson, WY, and beyond can benefit from its non-invasive nature, minimal side effects, and high satisfaction rates.

If you or someone you know is struggling with plantar fasciitis and conventional treatments have not provided relief, FSWT might be worth considering. Always consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment approach for your specific condition.


  1. Gollwitzer, H., Diehl, P., von Korff, A., Rahlfs, V. W., & Gerdesmeyer, L. (2015). Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for chronic painful heel syndrome: a prospective, double blind, randomized trial assessing the efficacy of a new electromagnetic shock wave device. Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 54(5), 682-686.

  2. Yin, M. C., Ye, J., Yao, M., Cui, X. J., Xia, Y., Zeng, C., ... & Lei, G. H. (2014). Is extracorporeal shock wave therapy effective in treating plantar fasciitis? A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 32(1), 30-37.

  3. Aqil, A., Siddiqui, M. R., Solan, M., Redfern, D. J., & Cobb, J. P. (2013). Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is effective in treating chronic plantar fasciitis: a meta-analysis of RCTs. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 471(11), 3645-3652.


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