Case study: Shockwave Therapy for plantar fasciitis in a 68 year-old female hiker
Presentation: plantar fasciitis
A 68-year lady, who is a keen hiker, presented to the clinic with bilateral foot pain which had been going on for over a year. Onset was after a hiking holiday where she was walking for between 5-7 hrs a day for 8 days. She had no other medical issues of note. The patient had been struggling to walk most days and had treatments ranging from pain medication, activity modification, over the counter orthotics and massage. Her symptoms had not improved and was seeking Shockwave Therapy to help with her heel pain.
Her symptoms were consistent with plantar fasciitis. Pain was very intense after getting out of bed and gradually eased after walking for a few minutes. The same pattern of pain presents itself after periods of rest. There is little pain during walking but once resting the pain returns to previous levels of severity.
Assessment and treatment plan
A clinical assessment was done to confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause. The pain was along the base of the feet even when not weight bearing. The plantar fascia is a tissue at the base of the foot and integral to providing support for the muscles, ligaments and joints. The patient also had tight calf muscles which in turn limited the movement in the ankles.
Once the assessment was complete, a treatment plan was developed, which included Shockwave Therapy, activity modification, stretching and strengthening program and orthotics (custom made) for the patient to alleviate the symptoms and then to prevent further re-occurrence.
Shockwave therapy treatment was scheduled for the patient once a week for three sessions. Shockwave therapy is a scientifically proven treatment for plantar fasciitis. It works by directing high frequency sound waves into the area, which stimulates blood flow, tissue regeneration, breakdown of scar tissue and pain modulation.
The patient had immediate pain relief after the first shockwave treatment. This lasted for a few days after which the pain returned to previous levels. The patient was reassured that this is normal, and the treatment can take several weeks to take effect. Over the course of the next two weeks, the patient’s pain gradually subsided and the patient was able to progress with her exercise program. Three weeks after the 3rd shockwave session, the patient was reviewed and she was pain free in both her feet. She was able to go for shorter (3 miles) hikes. 9 weeks after the initial treatment, she was still pain free and back to her normal 10-mile weekly hikes. She has carried on with her stretching and strengthening program, which she finds beneficial.
Note: This is a patient specific case and the treatment plan was tailored to her. If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, please consult one of our therapists and they would guide you for the most appropriate treatment.
We are so happy to help our patient get back to what she loves doing!!
If you are struggling, don’t suffer in silence, here at Woodside Clinic we can get you back on your feet faster, call us on Dunstable – 01582 608400 or Leighton Buzzard on 01525 372 447 to book an appointment or for more information. You can book online for a Shockwave Assesment.