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ESWT What to Expect

What Can I Expect With ESWT?

We may instruct you to stop taking anti-inflammatory medications (for example ibuprofen, aleve, etc.) for five or more days prior to the procedure.

The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, so it does not require a stay in the hospital. The procedure takes about 25 minutes and can be done with a simple block for the pain.

When Can I Return to Normal Activities?

Most patients return to normal activities the next day. Many patients feel relief the next day but the entire process of creating a new blood supply for the affected area is 6 weeks to 3 months. It is important to continue your stretching exercises during this critical period.

ESWT delivers the same positive outcomes as surgery with a minimal risk of infection, a higher success rate, and a much faster recovery rate.

After the ESWT?

You may experience some pain or discomfort in the treated area after the anesthesia effects have subsided. You may also continue to experience the same type of pain you had prior to treatment for 1 to 2 weeks. Pain is manageable by over the counter pain medication (i.e. Tylenol) in most cases.

You should not participate in any stressful activity involving the affected area for 4 weeks. “Stressful activity” may include over use of treated area, doing heavy housework or yard work, or participating in sports. Following this 4-week period, you should be able to resume normal activity.

To avoid re-injury, sometimes bracing is prescribed. You should avoid completely flat shoes such as sandals, loafer, moccasins, or house slippers. Continued use of orthotics is encouraged if the procedure was for the foot.

Simple Stretching exercises should be performed several times daily and before any sports activity. Massage of the treated area prior to activities, after rest may also be beneficial. Stretching for 30 seconds several times a day is recommended.

Maximum healing effect of the procedure cannot be evaluated prior to 12 weeks post treatment. The healing effect is also dependent upon individual patient response, and improvement may continue beyond the 12-week evaluation period.

  • Rest for the remainder of the day and night.

  • Resume gentle stretching exercises the day following the procedure.

  • Avoid icing or taking any anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, for up to four weeks after ESWT.

  • Avoid heavy lifting until physician approves resuming this activity.

  • You may walk on the foot, if the treatment was for Plantar Fasciitis.

  • Avoid running or excessive activity, if the treatment was for the foot.

  • Avoid going barefoot during the healing process, if the treatment was for the foot.

  • Wear supportive shoes, if the treatment was for the foot.

  • In some cases, orthotic devices (shoe inserts) will be prescribed, if the procedure was for the foot.

Although patients sometimes feel they can return to all normal activities right away, the physician will determine when that is appropriate for your situation. It is important to use caution and follow the doctor’s instructions to avoid injuring the treated foot. Because ESWT temporarily reduces or eliminates the sensation of pain, patients sometimes become too active too soon.

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