Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT or Shockwave) is a relatively new treatment modality that has been shown scientifically to be very effective in treating chronic tendon conditions specifically Achilles tendinopathy, Plantar fasciitis, Patellar tendinopathy, Calcific tendinopathy of the shoulder, lateral elbow tendinopathy as well as Greater Trochanter Pain Syndrome and Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. It was originally used to treat kidney stones.
It has been shown to have a long-term efficacy of 70-80 % and can be an alternative to surgery. There are multiple clinical and scientific studies available to demonstrate this. The shockwave is a mechanical acoustic wave created by a projectile in the handpiece of the machine.
It produces between 0.9 and 5 bar of pressure, delivered at a frequency of between 8 and 20 Hertz with an average treatment of 1000 to 2000 shots. The kinetic energy of the projectile is transferred to the tissue and this energy promotes regeneration and repair.
HOW IT WORKS
The body responds to the shockwaves by increasing the blood circulation and metabolism in the area which accelerates the body’s own healing process. It is a non-invasive treatment modality with relatively few side effects or complications. In order to obtain the best effects, an injury usually requires between 4 and 8 treatment sessions with some requiring as many as 12. Ideally, there should be between 5 and 10 days between treatment sessions, depending on the injury and your response to treatment.
Shockwave results in microtrauma to the area which results in inflammation and encourages the development of collagen which is a building block for tissue repair. It can also help break down calcifications that have formed in injured tendons. Shockwave can also help with chronic pain by decreasing the concentration of Substance P, a neurotransmitter that is associated with pain, especially chronic pain.
HOW IT FEELS
Sometimes the treatment is a bit painful but you can tell your physio if it is too much for you. Treatments only last a few minutes. It is normal for the area to be a little red after treatment.
We cannot do shockwave if you:
• Have had a corticosteroid injection in the past 6 weeks
• Are pregnant
• Have any implants incl. pacemaker
• Are on anti-coagulant (blood thinning) therapy
You may feel wonderfully pain free after treatment - this does not mean you can go and do what you want! You will need to be cautious for at least 48 hours and not overload the area. If you have pain after treatment, do not use anti-inflammatory medication or ice as these both interfere with the body’s self-healing mechanisms. You should continue with your stretches and other strengthening exercises. There might possibly be slight bruising or swelling after treatment.