Shockwave Therapy

What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy, or Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), is an effective treatment option for chronic, poor healing issues in the body. The shockwaves are mechanical pressure pulses, not electrical pulses, which create an audible ticking sound thanks to a sound wave produced by the machine. These pulses are aimed over the affected tissue to create physical changes and encourage healing.


What conditions is Shockwave used for?

Shockwave therapy can be a great treatment if you are still struggling with that chronic joint and soft tissue pain condition and you have tried everything else. Or you just want to get better faster. It has evidence to support its use for: -

  • Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain)
  • Shin Splints/Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome
  • Stress Fractures + Non-union Fractures
  • Achilles Tendinopathy
  • Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (Outside of hip pain)
  • Tennis/Golfers Elbow
  • Patella Tendinopathy
  • Calcific Tendonitis of the Shoulder
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
  • Metatarsalgia (forefoot pain)


How many sessions will I need?

Treatment is usually quick! It's anticipated that between 3 and 6 sessions are needed for most people, depending on your individual circumstances, at approximately a week apart.

Are there any side effects?

The treatment itself can be a little uncomfortable, but settings are constantly monitored during the treatment to make sure they're within your tolerance levels. Any discomfort very quickly settles during the treatment.

After treatment, you may experience more pain temporarily, redness, bruising, swelling and numbness. These side effects should resolve within a week, before your next treatment. Studies have shown that 5-7 out of 10 people receiving this treatment have found it to be effective. There is a very small risk of tendon or ligament rupture, and damage to the soft tissue.

What happens after treatment?

After treatment, you'll be fine to get up and move straight away, as with any of our treatments. You will be able to go back to daily life, including work, immediately, however, you should avoid strenuous, pain provoking exercise or high impact exercise for 48 hours after your treatment.

It's advisable not to use ice therapy or anti-inflammatory medication as this can interfere with the body's healing mechanism, stopping the beneficial effects of your treatment. Please DO NOT stop any medication without your GP/Consultant's advice first, before treatment commences.


Are there any contraindications to treatment?

Shockwave isn't suitable for you if you have any of the following: -

  • A blood clotting disorder
  • Taking anti-coagulant medication
  • You have received a steroid injection within the last 6 weeks.
  • You have a tumour or cancer
  • You have a skin infection or open wound at the site of treatment
  • You are under 18 years of age


You also need to tell your therapist if you are pregnant or have an implanted device such as a pacemaker as these require significant caution.

Where can I find further information?

Shockwave treatment is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), who produce guidelines for treatment with shockwave for a variety of conditions. These documents can be found on the NICE website, www.nice.org.uk.

References:

Wang, CJ. Wang, FS. Yang, K. Weng, LH. Ko, JY. (2006). Long-term Results of Extracorporeal Shockwave Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis.American Journal of Sports Medicine.Vol(34)4 :592-596

Notarnicola, A. Moretti, B.(2012) The biological effects of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (eswt) on tendon tissue. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J Jun 17; 2(1):33-7.

(Vetrano M1, d'Alessandro F, Torrisi MR, Ferretti A, Vulpiani MC, Visco V.(2011). Extracorporeal shock wave therapy promotes cell proliferation and collagen synthesis of primary cultured human tenocytes. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc .Dec;19 (12):2159-68

Schmitz,C. DePace,R. (2009). Pain relief by extracorporeal shockwave therapy: an update on the current understanding. Urol Res, 37(4): 231–23

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