Extracorporeal Sound Wave Treatment (ESWT) is commonly used for the treatment of soft tissue and bone disorders around the foot and ankle.
Originally known as Lithotripsy, sound wave technology is similar to a small sonic boom resulting from a super sonic jet breaking the sound barrier. Formerly used to break up kidney stones, in the early 1990’s it was discovered that this high intensity sound wave had benefit on wound and fracture healing. Since 1993, ESWT has been used on a regular basis in Europe for the treatment of painful tendonitis (tennis elbow), plantar fasciitis (heel spur) and to treat fractured bones that did not heal normally.
Two different types of treatment are utilized at Weil Foot & Ankle Institute. We use one time treatment high energy shockwave under anesthesia and multiple treatment low energy shockwave without anesthesia. Some studies have shown that low energy shockwave without anesthesia is the most effective way to perform shockwave. Treatment is performed at intervals of 1-2 weeks and treatments are typically performed with 3000 pulses delivered at each treatment.
With high energy shock, anesthesia is necessary for comfort and tolerance of the procedure. After confirmation of exact positioning, the computer is then set to deliver 1000-3000 high energy sonic pulses at a pre-determined intensity level. It is recommended the procedure be performed under twilight sleep in an ambulatory surgery setting or hospital. Local anesthesia may be used in special circumstances.
The equipment used to deliver ESWT is highly advanced and has been evaluated by the FDA. These types of technologies are in common use throughout the world: Electrohydraulic, Electromagnetic, Pregoelectric and Radial. The equipment consists of a computerized device with a movable arm or hand held device that allows the physician to position a water-filled rubber bladder or applicator targeting the precise point of pain.
With low energy shock wave, patients can resume normal activities immediately after the procedure. Patients typically leave the office feeling better than when they arrived.
Following the high energy procedure, patients are asked to take it easy the remainder of the day. The day after the procedure, almost all patients are able to resume normal activities. Significant pain relief was noted by greater than 80% of the patients within a week following the procedure. No immobilization is required.
The Weil Foot & Ankle Institute has successfully performed ESWT since February of 2000. We have participated in three FDA studies on ESWT, as well as multiple clinical studies. Our clinical studies have shown a greater than 80% success rate while using ESWT to treat plantar fasciitis and other tendon problems involving the foot and ankle. 83% of patients treated have had a reduction on a 0-10 pain scale by at least 5 for their condition. On rare occasions, patients have gone on to invasive surgical procedures. No patients have been made worse and no patients have developed complications from the ESWT. Full clinical benefits are fully realized 2-3 months following the procedure.
Dr. Lowell Weil Jr. served as the President of the International Society for Medical Shockwave Treatment from 2009 to 2010, culminating in Weil Foot & Ankle Institute‘s hosting the 10th Annual ISMST Scientific Congress in June 2010.
Costs are dependent upon the location of pain and the time required to treat the condition. Many insurance companies cover the cost of ESWT treatment.
Please call our Chicago area podiatry office at (847) 666-5504 if you have any additional questions about Extracorporeal Sound Wave Treatment (ESWT) and we will be happy to provide you with all the information that you may need. With 15 podiatry offices in and around the Chicago area, there is sure to be an office near you!