Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: Efficacy and Treatment Protocols

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, affecting millions of people worldwide. While conservative treatments such as rest, stretching, and orthotics are often recommended as first-line therapies, some patients experience persistent symptoms that require more aggressive intervention. In recent years, shockwave therapy has emerged as a promising option for the management of plantar fasciitis, offering patients a non-invasive alternative to surgery.

How it Works

Shockwave therapy delivers acoustic waves to the affected area, stimulating tissue repair and pain relief through a process known as mechanotransduction. In the case of plantar fasciitis, shockwaves are applied directly to the inflamed plantar fascia, targeting the underlying pathology and promoting healing. Studies have shown that shockwave therapy can effectively reduce pain, improve function, and enhance quality of life in patients with plantar fasciitis.


A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research examined the efficacy of shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis and found that it significantly reduced pain and improved functional outcomes compared to placebo. The authors concluded that shockwave therapy should be considered as a viable treatment option for patients with refractory plantar fasciitis who have failed conservative therapies.

Treatment Protocols

When it comes to treatment protocols, shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis typically involves multiple sessions administered over several weeks. The exact protocol may vary depending on the device used, the severity of symptoms, and individual patient factors. However, a common protocol involves 3-5 sessions spaced 1-2 weeks apart, with each session lasting approximately 5-10 minutes.

What to Expect

During the treatment session, the patient may experience mild discomfort or a tingling sensation as the shockwaves are delivered to the affected area. However, the procedure is generally well-tolerated, and most patients can resume their normal activities immediately afterward. It’s essential to follow post-treatment instructions provided by the healthcare provider, which may include avoiding high-impact activities and continuing with stretching exercises to optimize outcomes.

Shockwave therapy can offer a safe and effective treatment option for patients with plantar fasciitis who have failed conservative therapies. By promoting tissue healing and pain relief, shockwave therapy could help patients regain function and improve their quality of life. 


1. Wang, C. J. (2012). Extracorporeal shockwave therapy in musculoskeletal disorders. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research. doi: 10.1186/1749-779X-7-11.


2. Zhou, B., Zhou, Y., & Tao, X. (2018). Efficacy of extracorporeal shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, 13(1), 164.

3. Jiale, S., Fuqiang, G., Yanhua, W., Wei S., Baoguo, J., & Zirong, L. (2017) Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is effective in treating chronic plantar fasciitis. Medicine. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000006621.


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