Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ


About 10 years ago I had a kidney stone I couldn't pass. The doctor treated me with a special vibration treatment called lithotripsy. It worked very well and I was painfree in two days. Now I have plantar fasciitis in my foot. I've been told this same shock treatment can work on my foot. Is that true?


It's very similar but not exactly the same. Lithotripsy is a way to break up stones inside the body using shockwaves. The stones are crushed to sand-like particles and then pass from the body. The patient can avoid open surgery with this treatment.

A similar high or low-energy shockwave treatment can be used for plantar fasciitis. Several studies have been published on this. It's been shown to be safe and effective. Doctors advise trying regular treatment (e.g., antiinflammatory drugs, ultrasound, stretching, heel cup) first. If you still have painful symptoms then consider this new shock wave therapy.

Right now sedation is needed, especially with high-energy shock wave treatment. Both feet can be done at the same time and the patient is back to work the next day. In the future this treatment will likely be done in the doctor's office.

John A. Ogden, MD, et al. Electrohydraulic High-Energy Shock-Wave Treatment for Chronic Plantar Fasciitis. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. October 2004. Vol. 86-A. No. 10. Pp. 2216-2227.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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