Shockwave Therapy

Heel or footpain

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

What is Shockwave Therapy?

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a unique, non-invasive approach to addressing pain linked to the musculoskeletal system.

How Does It Work?

Shockwaves are high-energy acoustic waves characterized by a sudden increase in pressure, high amplitude, and non-periodicity. These waves are generated by the kinetic energy of a projectile created by compressed air, which is then transferred to a transmitter at the end of the applicator.

Common Conditions Treated:

  • Painful shoulder (calcification, tendonitis/tendonopathy)
  • Tennis elbow
  • Hip pain (gluteal tendinopathy)
  • Groin pain
  • Hamstring insertion pain
  • Achilles tendon pain
  • Heel spurs
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tibialis anterior syndrome
  • Jumper’s knee/patella tendon
  • Trigger finger
  • Trigger points/muscle release

Mechanism of Action

Shockwaves deliver high energy to painful areas and tissues with subacute, subchronic, and chronic conditions. This energy boosts healing, regeneration, and repair processes in tendons and soft tissues. During Radial Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, a high-intensity sound wave is transmitted through a probe to the skin, where it interacts with body tissues. This interaction leads to increased blood flow and metabolic activity, reversal of chronic inflammation, stimulation of collagen, and dissolution of calcium build-up. These biological effects create an optimal healing environment, restoring functionality and alleviating pain.

Proven Effectiveness

Developed from treatments for kidney stones, ESWT is widely used in Europe and North America for soft tissue conditions like Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis. Numerous scientific studies report a success rate above 75%, making ESWT a safe and effective treatment option.

Benefits of ESWT

  • Inhibits Substance P: Reduces pain by inhibiting this pain mediator and growth factor, while also stimulating blood circulation and bone tissue formation.
  • Inhibits COX II Enzyme: Produces an anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting inflammatory mediators.
  • Activates Cellular Defenses: Strengthens the body’s defense mechanisms by releasing free radicals.
  • Hyperstimulates Nerve Fibres: Blocks pain stimuli, enhancing the analgesic effect.

Additional Benefits

  • Increased metabolism at the application site
  • Reabsorption of calcium deposits in and around tendons
  • Improved blood flow and range of motion
  • Reduced inflammatory activity and tenderness
  • Increased mechanical loading

Treatment Process

Your Physiotherapist will determine whether you are suitable for ESWT during your session after a full assessment. Once suitable, ESWT will be provided during the treatment session. Shock waves are applied using a hand-held applicator. Initial treatment may cause deep pain, indicating correct targeting of the problem area. This is followed by numbness or heaviness, making the latter phase of the treatment less painful. Each session lasts about 5-10 minutes, during which up to 3000 pulses may be delivered. Many patients experience pain relief within 8-10 days after the first treatment. Depending on your condition, 3 to 10 sessions may be required, with an average of 5 sessions.

Post-Treatment Information

You may experience some soreness, which can intensify on the night of treatment. Simple pain relief and icing can help manage this discomfort. Minor bruising is also possible but rare.

Side Effects and Contraindications

  • Possible Side Effects: Post-treatment pain, minor bruising.
  • Contraindications: Pregnancy, bleeding disorders, skin wounds or acute inflammation in the treatment area, tumors in the treatment area.

Medical Effects

  • Analgesic effect and pain elimination
  • Decreased muscle tension and inhibition of spasms
  • Enhanced dispersion of substance P
  • Accelerated healing and increased collagen production
  • Improved metabolism and microcirculation
  • Mobility restoration and dissolving of calcified fibroblasts

Experience the benefits of ESWT at our physiotherapy practice and discover a path to pain relief and improved mobility.