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Surgery or ESWT? Success percentages?

Posted by Bill D on 4/21/03 at 21:14 (116757)

I have read many comments and find them immensely helpful. I have had 2 years of shots, orthotics, anit-inflammatory drugs, stretches and PAIN. Have seen 3 Podiatrists and 2 surgeons. Here's the deal: the surgen who is capable of doing either EWST or endoscopic surgery claims the surgery (his own) has a 95% success in patients. He says the EWST has about 70% success rate. The gist was that EWST is a bit more of a crap-shoot for non-invasive option. I need to move on this , (I'm starting to lose my balance and fall, and pain is begining to shoot up achilles) Can anyone corroborate these numbers? Also, I have Oxford Freedom Select, need to call for coverage info. has anyone dealt with them on this??

Re: Surgery or ESWT? Success percentages?

Scott D. on 4/22/03 at 08:28 (116787)


Can't help you on the medical questions, but I can tell you that as far as I know Oxford doesn't cover this procedure yet. If you hear differently please let me know!

Re: Surgery or ESWT? Success percentages?

SteveG on 4/22/03 at 09:15 (116801)

Boy that's a no brainer to me. I would definitely go with the ESWT. The success rate for ESWT is higher than 70% (80-90?). But more to the point, you will not have to worry about the possible complications that can happen with surgery. Moreover, there is no down time. If the ESWT does not work, you can consider surgery. In fact, I am surprised he presents it as an either or situation. He should recommend the ESWT first, and if you do not respond to it, then he should talk about cutting your foot. Surgery is always considered a last resort.

Re: Surgery or ESWT? Success percentages?

Bill D on 4/22/03 at 14:23 (116824)

Thanks guys, Oxford did confirm today that they do not cover the ESWT. Sited 'inconclusive benefit'. Not that they need a reason...
My gut tells me that surgery should be a last option as well. I realize that when I talk to a surgeon, his ego is on the line.
Has anyone out there been to Canada for the ESWT ?? All information is appreciated.

Re: Surgery or ESWT? Success percentages?

Ed Davis, DPM on 4/22/03 at 14:52 (116827)


There are no 'secret' methods for plantar fascial release surgery. So when your doctor states that 'his own' method has a 95% success rate I would ask him to describe his method. You may want to do a search on this board concerning the surgery and look at success rates. They are not nearly that high.

Re: Canada

SteveG on 4/22/03 at 15:48 (116844)

Many people on the board have been to Canada. If you do a search on 'Canada' or the 'Bayshore Clinic', you can get more information. Here is their website -


There was some discussion recently about the price -- ( $1,000 per foot for 3 treatments??). If you call them they can give you an idea of what they are charging. They also have a high-energy machine, it is more money, but you only need to get one treatment and you are out the door.

Re: Surgery or ESWT? Success percentages?

BrianG on 4/22/03 at 21:39 (116876)

Hey Bill,

Your doc must be the BEST surgeon to ever touch a human foot, with his 95% success rate!!! Look at Dr. Davis message and read between the lines. NO ONE has a 95% success rate when it comes to PF surgery !!!!! If it was that high, no one would have ever bothered to adapt ESWT to treating PF, just my .02 cents !!!

Good luck with your decision,

Re: Surgery or ESWT? Success percentages?

Pauline on 4/23/03 at 07:30 (116896)

I think your right. Maybe the doctor 'Wss' describing his success rate if he didn't operate:*)

Re: Surgery or ESWT? Success percentages?

john h on 4/23/03 at 10:03 (116914)

If a doctor told me he had a 95% success rate with surgery treating PF I would run out the door immediately.