Extracoporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Feet of black man starting running in urban background. Male doing workout outdoors.


Electracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) uses pulses of sound energy (shock waves). It is thought to work for plantar fasciitis by causing microtrauma which triggers a healing response, thereby reducing pain and promoting healing.

RESCU Treatment Ratings

R = Risk      E = Effectiveness      S = Self-Care

C = Cost     U = Usefulness (overall rating)

1 = Least Favorable     5 = Most Favorable


RISK: 4/5


ESWT appears to be a relatively safe procedure, though there are few systematic reviews of side effects in the scientific literature. One study showed side effects included localized pain, swelling, redness, bruising, numbness or tingling, severe headaches, and throbbing sensations occurred but were generally short-lived.


Roerdink RLDietvorst Mvan der Zwaard Bvan der Worp HZwerver J. Complications of extracorporeal shockwave therapy in plantar fasciitis: Systematic review. Int J Surg. 2017 Oct;46:133-145.


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