I am very familar with the world literature on ESWT which depending on which article is read success ranges from 50% - 75% with the 1st treatment 6 months after the therapy. When a 2nd therapy is needed that success rate goes up to 90%.
In my limited personal experience, most patients have had a significant immediate improvement. Some have not benefitted. NONE have been made worse.
Our practice sees over 500 patients with heel pain every year and we plan on using this therapy with some regularity. It DOES NOT replace the previously well proven conservative options, though. Those are time tested at 85-90% successful.
I will be attending the international meeting of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy in Naples, Italy the first week of June, 2000.
This is not a magic cure. There are reasons it works, and reasons why less aggressive conservative options should be exhausted. That being said, it is a far better option than invassive surgical options. There are significant risks and complications associated with heel pain/spur surgery that this technology avoids.
Lowell Weil, Jr., DPM,FACFAS
posted to the eswt board