Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

Shockwave therapy is a form of treatment that has been clinically proven to be very effective in the treatment of chronic, persistent pain conditions. It is widely used among high level athletes to treat a number of musculoskeletal disorders.

What is shockwave therapy?

A hand-held probe is applied directly over the injured area which transmits high intensity acoustic waves through the skin to the underlying tissues. Changes in the tissues occurs at a cellular level, enabling the body to create an optimal healing environment through:

  • Pain reduction
  • Increased blood flow
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Stimulation of collagen, and
  • Dissolution of calcium build up

There may be some initial pain, followed by numbness and then a reduction in pain.

When would I need Shockwave therapy?

For patients suffering chronic conditions (3 months or longer), shockwave therapy can be performed. Treatment sessions are 15 minutes in duration.

 Common conditions include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis (click here for further details)
  • Achilles Tendinopathy (click here for further details)

 

Depending on your response and condition 3-5 sessions are most beneficial.

What are the risks of extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT)?

  • You will experience some pain during the treatment, this is normal and you should be able to tolerate this.
  • Following ESWT, you may experience redness, bruising, swelling and numbness to the area. These side effects should resolve within a week, before your next treatment.
  • There is a small risk of tendon rupture or ligament rupture and damage to the soft tissue. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have deemed this procedure to be safe, although there are some uncertainties about how well it works. For this reason, every patient will be monitored before and after the treatments to discover how successful the outcome is. Studies have shown there is up to 80% chance that it will be effective.

You should not have ESWT if you are:

  • Pregnant
  • Have had a steroid injection to the injured site within 6 weeks
  • Have a blood clotting disorder
  • Are taking any antiplatelet or anticoagulant drug therapy e.g. Clopidogrel, Warfarin
  • Have been diagnosed with bone cancer
  • Have an infection in the vicinity of the area being treated

Our podiatrist will conduct a thorough medical history with every patient prior to administering ESWT to ensure they are suitable for treatment.

How many sessions of ESWT will I need?

The most recent body of clinical evidence has linked the length of time someone has been experiencing painful symptoms to the number of sessions required for a successful treatment outcome. Therefore, for someone who has had pain for around 6 weeks, up to 3 sessions may be recommended. Where symptoms have been present for around 6 months, up to 6 sessions may be recommended. Where a patient has experienced symptoms longer than 6 months, as many as 12 sessions may be required for a successful outcome. Our Musculoskeletal Podiatrists will continuously evaluate your response to treatment at each session.

How often will I need to come for my ESWT treatment?

Treatment sessions are administered a week apart as the effects of ESWT are cumulative.

 

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