If you’re seeking relief from foot problems, look no further than shock wave therapy. Dr. Lauren Dabakaroff, a board-certified podiatrist at LMD Podiatry, is dedicated to providing advanced foot and ankle care. With a wealth of knowledge gained from her Mount Sinai training, she offers both surgical and non-surgical solutions for a wide range of conditions. From pediatric and diabetic care to the treatment of Achilles Tendonitis and bunions, Dr. Dabakaroff utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostics and ensures same-day appointments in a friendly and welcoming environment. Prioritizing your foot health, she can be reached for consultation at 954-680-7133. Discover the potential of shock wave therapy to alleviate your foot problems today.

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What is Shock Wave Therapy?

Shock wave therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that utilizes high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing in the body. It is primarily used to treat musculoskeletal conditions, particularly those affecting the foot and ankle. This therapy has gained popularity due to its effectiveness in providing pain relief and promoting faster healing.

Definition and Purpose of Shock Wave Therapy

Shock wave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), is a medical procedure that involves the application of acoustic waves to the affected area. These waves carry high energy, which stimulates the body’s natural healing process and accelerates tissue regeneration.

The purpose of shock wave therapy is to relieve pain, promote tissue repair, and improve overall function. It has been used successfully in treating a wide range of conditions, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, heel spurs, and stress fractures.

How Shock Wave Therapy Works

Shock wave therapy works by delivering focused sound waves to the affected area. These sound waves create microtrauma within the tissues, stimulating the release of growth factors and promoting the formation of new blood vessels. This increased blood flow helps to heal damaged tissues, reduce pain, and improve mobility.

The shock waves also have an analgesic effect, reducing pain by inhibiting pain receptors and decreasing inflammation. Additionally, shock wave therapy can break down calcifications, such as heel spurs, allowing the body to reabsorb them more easily.

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Conditions Treated by Shock Wave Therapy

Shock wave therapy has shown significant benefits for several foot and ankle conditions. It is commonly used in the treatment of the following conditions:

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition characterized by inflammation and pain in the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Shock wave therapy has been proven effective in reducing pain and improving function in individuals with plantar fasciitis.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an injury that affects the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Shock wave therapy has been used successfully in the treatment of Achilles tendonitis, helping to reduce pain, decrease inflammation, and promote tendon healing.

Heel Spurs

A heel spur is a calcium deposit that forms on the underside of the heel bone. This condition often accompanies plantar fasciitis and can cause severe pain and discomfort. Shock wave therapy can break down heel spurs, relieving pain and allowing the body to absorb the calcifications more effectively.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small cracks or breaks in the bones that occur due to repetitive stress or overuse. Shock wave therapy can help stimulate healing in stress fractures, reducing pain and promoting bone remodeling.

Benefits of Shock Wave Therapy

Shock wave therapy offers several benefits as a treatment option for foot and ankle conditions. These include:

Non-Invasive Treatment Option

Shock wave therapy is a non-invasive procedure that does not require incisions or anesthesia. It avoids the potential risks and complications associated with surgery, making it a safer and less invasive alternative.

Effective Pain Relief

Shock wave therapy has been proven effective in reducing pain associated with various foot and ankle conditions. It works by targeting the source of pain and promoting tissue healing, providing long-lasting relief without relying on medication.

Faster Healing and Recovery

By stimulating the body’s natural healing process, shock wave therapy accelerates tissue regeneration and promotes faster recovery. This can significantly reduce downtime and allow individuals to return to their regular activities sooner.

No Downtime or Rehabilitation

Unlike surgical procedures, shock wave therapy does not require extensive downtime or rehabilitation. In most cases, patients can resume their normal activities immediately after treatment, with little to no restrictions.

The Procedure of Shock Wave Therapy

The process of shock wave therapy typically involves several steps, starting from the initial consultation and ending with the completion of the treatment sessions.

Initial Consultation

Before undergoing shock wave therapy, you will have an initial consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. During this consultation, the provider will evaluate your condition, take a detailed medical history, and perform a physical examination. This assessment will help determine if you are a suitable candidate for shock wave therapy.

Preparation for the Procedure

To prepare for the shock wave therapy procedure, you may be instructed to avoid applying any creams or lotions to the treatment area. You may also need to refrain from taking medications that could interfere with the procedure, such as blood thinners.

Administration of Shock Waves

During the procedure, the healthcare provider will use a handheld device to deliver shock waves to the affected area. The device is pressed against the skin, and the shock waves are transmitted through a gel medium. The intensity and frequency of the shock waves will be adjusted based on your specific condition and response to treatment.

Number of Sessions and Treatment Duration

The number of shock wave therapy sessions needed can vary depending on the individual and their condition. Typically, a series of three to five treatment sessions, spaced at weekly intervals, is recommended. Each session typically lasts between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the treatment area and the extent of the condition.

Are You a Candidate for Shock Wave Therapy?

While shock wave therapy can be beneficial for many individuals with foot and ankle conditions, not everyone is a suitable candidate. Eligibility for shock wave therapy will depend on various factors, including the specific condition being treated and the individual’s overall health.

Evaluation of Eligibility

To determine if you are a candidate for shock wave therapy, a healthcare professional will assess your medical history, perform a physical examination, and consider any underlying health conditions or contraindications.

Contraindications of Shock Wave Therapy

There are certain contraindications for shock wave therapy that may affect its suitability for some individuals. These contraindications include pregnancy, blood clotting disorders, infections, open wounds, and certain types of cancer. It is important to discuss your medical history with a healthcare provider to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.

Alternative Treatment Options

In cases where shock wave therapy is not suitable or effective, there are alternative treatment options available. These may include physical therapy, orthotics, corticosteroid injections, or in severe cases, surgical intervention. A healthcare professional will be able to recommend the most appropriate treatment plan based on your individual needs.

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What to Expect During Shock Wave Therapy

Understanding what to expect during shock wave therapy can help alleviate any concerns or uncertainties about the procedure.

Sensation and Discomfort

During the administration of shock waves, you may experience a mild discomfort or sensation of pressure in the treatment area. Some individuals describe the sensation as similar to the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. However, the discomfort is generally tolerable and does not last long.

Possible Side Effects

Shock wave therapy is considered safe and has minimal side effects. However, some individuals may experience temporary redness, bruising, or swelling in the treatment area. These side effects typically resolve within a few days and do not require any specific treatment.

Follow-Up Care

Following each shock wave therapy session, your healthcare provider may provide instructions for follow-up care. This may include rest, applying ice to the treatment area, and avoiding activities that may exacerbate the condition. It is essential to follow these instructions to ensure optimal healing and maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.

Choosing the Right Provider for Shock Wave Therapy

When considering shock wave therapy as a treatment option, choosing the right provider is crucial to ensure safe and effective results.

Experience and Expertise

Look for a healthcare professional who has extensive experience and expertise in performing shock wave therapy. They should have specific training in this modality and a proven track record of successful outcomes. Additionally, consider seeking care from a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist who specializes in foot and ankle conditions.

Technology and Equipment

Ensure that the provider has access to state-of-the-art technology and equipment for performing shock wave therapy. The quality of the equipment used can impact the effectiveness and safety of the treatment.

Patient Reviews and Testimonials

Reading patient reviews and testimonials can provide valuable insight into the experiences of others who have undergone shock wave therapy with a specific provider. Look for positive feedback regarding the provider’s communication, bedside manner, and the effectiveness of the treatment.

Location and Accessibility

Consider the location and accessibility of the provider’s practice. Ensure that it is conveniently located and easily accessible, as you may need to attend multiple treatment sessions over a period of several weeks.

Cost of Shock Wave Therapy

The cost of shock wave therapy can vary depending on various factors, including the provider’s location, the number of treatment sessions required, and any additional services included in the treatment plan.

Insurance Coverage

Some health insurance plans may cover shock wave therapy for certain indications. It is advisable to contact your insurance provider to inquire about coverage and any pre-authorization requirements. Be sure to obtain a clear understanding of your insurance coverage and potential out-of-pocket expenses before proceeding with the treatment.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

In cases where shock wave therapy is not covered by insurance or if you do not have insurance coverage, the cost of treatment will be an out-of-pocket expense. The provider’s office can provide you with a detailed breakdown of the costs involved, including the initial consultation, treatment sessions, and any additional services or follow-up care.

Financing Options

If the cost of shock wave therapy is a concern, inquire with the provider’s office about financing options. Some practices may offer payment plans or financing arrangements to help make the treatment more affordable.

Success Rate and Long-Term Results of Shock Wave Therapy

Research and studies have consistently demonstrated the effectiveness of shock wave therapy in treating various foot and ankle conditions. The success rate of shock wave therapy varies depending on the specific condition being treated and the individual’s response to treatment.

Research and Studies

Numerous studies have shown that shock wave therapy can provide significant pain relief and improve function in individuals with conditions such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. The results of these studies have supported the use of shock wave therapy as a safe and effective treatment option.

Patient Satisfaction

Patient satisfaction with shock wave therapy has been high, with many individuals experiencing long-lasting pain relief and improved quality of life. However, it is important to manage expectations and understand that individual results may vary.

Maintenance and Prevention

While shock wave therapy can provide significant pain relief and promote healing, it is essential to address any underlying factors that may have contributed to the condition. This may include modifying footwear, implementing stretching and strengthening exercises, and addressing any biomechanical issues. Proper maintenance and prevention strategies can help minimize the risk of recurrence and maximize the long-term results of shock wave therapy.


Shock wave therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that offers effective pain relief and promotes healing for various foot and ankle conditions. By stimulating the body’s natural healing process, shock wave therapy can provide long-lasting results without the need for surgery or extensive downtime. If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, it is recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if shock wave therapy is a suitable treatment option for you. With the proper evaluation, guidance, and care, shock wave therapy can help you regain mobility, alleviate pain, and improve your overall foot health.

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