Orthopedic Institute Blog

The Best Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis and Tennis Elbow

Posted on May 21, 2021

Many medical experts believe Radial Pulse Therapy (RPT), also called shockwave therapy, is one of the best treatment options for plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, and other joint pain because it is non-invasive and helps quickly reduce pain. RPT is an advanced treatment system that uses short, electromagnetic shockwaves delivered from a handheld device to treat injury, overuse, trauma, and arthritis of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.

The electromagnetic shockwaves delivered from the handheld device transfer kinetic energy into impact energy, transmitted through radial pulses to the target tissue. The intensity of the shockwaves is adjusted depending on the severity of the tendinitis. The shockwaves break down scar tissue and cause an inflammatory response. This healing response improves blood circulation, range of motion and reduces pain.

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The Most Common Problems Radial Pulse (Shockwave) Therapy Treats

 RPT can be an effective treatment solution for common muscle, tendon, ligament, and joint issues, including:


Watch Physical Therapists Kris and Jill Explain and Demonstrate Radial Pulse Therapy


The 3 Biggest Benefits of Radial Pulse (Shockwave) Therapy

RPT is an excellent alternative to steroid injections or surgery and acts faster than stretching or other exercises. RPT is the preferred treatment option for athletes and non-athletes for multiple reasons, including:

  1. Non-invasive treatment requiring no anesthesia or injections before treatment.
  2. Fast and convenient sessions that last less than 30 minutes - right in the clinic.
  3. Increased patient comfort as the device eliminates the need for any unpleasant, high-pressure treatments compared to other types of treatments.

What Does a Radial Pulse (Shockwave) Therapy Treatment Feel Like?

During an RPT treatment, the electromagnetic shockwaves delivered from the handheld device transfer the energy through radial pulses to target the tissue.

During the initial few minutes, you will feel a sensation of thumping pressure. In treatment areas closer to a bone, you may feel some slight discomfort as we apply pressure to the tissue that has been causing you pain. The physical therapist will reduce the amount they press on the device as they cross over any boney part of your body. The discomfort should subside as your body releases its natural pain killers during its inflammatory response that the treatment stimulates.

After your treatment, you may notice that your skin turns red and warm from the increased blood circulation. Most patients immediately notice pain relief and improved range of motion. 

A female physical therapist manipulates the bottom of a female patients foot, near the heel, using a handheld Radial Pulse Therapy tool to alleviate pain due to plantar fasciitis.

How Long Does Radial Pulse (Shockwave) Therapy Treatment Last?

An RPT treatment session can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, with 4 to 7 days typically between sessions. Most patients receive a minimum of 4 treatments, and some receive as many as 12 treatments or more, depending upon their condition. While patients will experience less pain after the first treatment, the most significant benefits come after the 3rd or 4th treatment.

Is Radial Pulse (Shockwave) Therapy Safe?

Research studies suggest that RPT is a safe and well-tolerated treatment. Therapeutic outcomes for soft tissue conditions treated with RPT on average range from good to excellent in most cases.



The Top 2 Reasons Why the Zimmer enPuls Pro is More Comfortable for Patients

The handheld Zimmer enPuls Radial Pulse Therapy treatment system for pain and tendinitis including plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow.

With the enPuls Pro softshot technology, the unit maintains energy by having a longer pulse rise time, eliminating the need for unpleasant high peak pressure amplitudes. This reduced final velocity makes it more comfortable for the patient than comparable systems. The lower peak and longer rise time minimize the stinging and painful sensation typically associated with this type of therapy. Increased patient comfort results in treatments at higher energy levels, leading to successful treatment.

Two reasons why the Zimmer enPuls Pro is more comfortable for patients:

Many patients feel the Zimmer enPuls Pro is a more comfortable treatment options compared to other competitor shockwave devices. The two main reasons are:

  1. The reduced final velocity eliminates unpleasant high-pressure therapy
  2. The lower peak pressure minimizes stinging and painful sensations.

Learn more about the enPulsPro Radial Pulse Therapy System at ZimmerUSA: https://zimmerusa.com/products/physical-medicine/radial-pulse-therapy/enpuls-version-2-0/

Other Ways Physical Therapists Can Treat Plantar Fasciitis and Tennis Elbow

In addition to RPT, physical therapists may offer other treatment solutions to reduce inflammation, such as ultrasounds, iontophoresis, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, cross friction massage, and eccentric strengthening programs to stimulate healing.

To learn more about tendonitis, click here!

If you are experiencing chronic foot, heel, or ankle pain, soft tissue pain, or sports injury, talk to your physician or physical therapist about whether Radial Pulse Therapy is a treatment solution for you.

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