Purpose of Technology: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a noninvasive treatment for chronic plantar fasciitis that involves delivery of shock waves to the painful region of the heel with the goal of reducing pain, increasing function, and promoting healing of the affected soft tissue. Radial ESWT uses pneumatic devices to deliver radial shock waves to a wider area than focused ESWT at a relatively low energy level.

Controversy: The effectiveness of radial ESWT in the treatment of plantar fasciitis is controversial. Despite years of use, there are no established treatment parameters for ESWT, which vary widely across study protocols, including energy density, number of sessions and shocks used, localization of shock waves, and whether local anesthesia is used. Also, patients with plantar fasciitis may recover spontaneously over time.

Relevant Questions:

  • Does radial ESWT reduce heel pain, increase function, and improve quality of life in patients with plantar fasciitis?

  • Is radial ESWT safe?

  • For which patients might radial ESWT provide a benefit?

If you have a Hayes login, click here to view the full report on the Knowledge Center.