Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of foot pain, characterised by pain at the base of the heel. The plantar fasciia is a thick bundle of fibres running from the toes to the heel. When damage is caused to these fibres, you can experience pain and stiffness at the base of the heel.
The Heelease device generates high-frequency vibration to pass shockwaves through the skin to the tendon. Pain is transmitted as impulses in the large sensory fibres of the body and by applying a certain frequency to the area of pain, it interacts with the pain impulse transmissions, causing disruption. The shockwave is effectively ‘scrambling’ the sensory impulses to the extent that they cannot be interpreted as pain signals by the brain. This is a treatment option approved for plantar fasciitis by NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.
High-frequency vibrations, applied locally to an injured tendon, stimulate the formation of new blood vessels. This increases the blood supply to the afflicted tendon and associated muscles and joints, accelerating recovery.
Read more about shockwave therapy here (external link)
Several studies have investigated the use of this sort of therapy to treat acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain in various parts of the body. The published study ‘Pain Alleviation by Vibratory Stimulation’, by Lundburg, Nordemar and Ottoson from Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, shows that shockwave therapy is an effective treatment for both chronic and acute pain. It also shows that it is more effective in relieving plantar fasciitis pain than TENS.
1. Radial Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy Is Safe and Effective in the Treatment of Chronic Recalcitrant Plantar Fasciitis. read more
2. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy in symptomatic heel spurs. An overview. read more
3. Pain alleviation by vibratory stimulation, Lundeberg et al, The Journal of Pain, 1984. read more
4. Effect of vibratory stimulation on experimental and clinical pain, Lundeberg et al - Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine, 1988 read more
5. Effects of vibratory stimulation on muscular pain threshold and blink response in human subjects, Pantaleo et al – Journal of Pain 1986 read more
6. Treatment Options for plantar fasciitis - 2008 read more
7. Vibratory stimulation for the alleviation of chronic pain, Acta Physiol Scand Suppl. 1983;523:1-51. read more
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A 12 page, illustrated guide to plantar fasciitis to help you understand the condition and manage plantar fasciitis pain.