Treatment for Tendon and Fascial Disorders
Shockwave is the most effective non-invasive treatment for tendon and fascial disorders including:
- Plantar fasciitis (foot / heel pain)
- Achilles tendonitis
- Patella tendonopathy (anterior knee pain)
- Tennis and Golfer’s elbow
- Calcific tendonitis (shoulder pain)
- Rotator cuff tendonopathies (shoulder)
- Hip bursitis
What is Shockwave Therapy?
It’s full name is extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). Extracorporeal means ‘outside the body’ and refers to the way the therapy is applied. Shockwave is a non-surgical procedure that uses mechanical pulses to produce ultrasonic sound waves to stimulate healing in the body’s soft tissues. Shockwave was first used for lithotripsy for the treatment of kidney stones avoiding the need for surgery.
How does Shockwave work?
Energy (sound) waves are applied to the surface of the skin through a probe. These energy waves spread outwards in to the tissues. This process is believed to increase blood flow and ‘kick start’ the healing process.
How successful is Shockwave?
Success rates are very encouraging. The most recent research suggests between a 70-80% success rate for patients with heel pain or Achilles tendon pain. The treatment is very safe and has been backed up by medical research. There are some minor risks associated with the treatment, including some discomfort and reddening of the skin. However, not everyone experiences these.
How many treatments are required?
For shockwave to work effectively it is advised for the patient to receive 3 to 4 separate treatments. These are normally a week or two apart. After this course of treatment, we recommend a review appointment at 6 weeks to see whether any further shockwave therapy is required to gain the optimal effect. It may sometimes be necessary to have a further 1 to 2 sessions to maximise the benefit of the treatment.
Most people will notice an improvement in their symptoms at 6-12 weeks after the final treatment, however, some patients may feel a reduction in their pain sooner than this.
Are there any precautions to take with this treatment?
Before commencing treatment, we advise patients stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen). After each treatment, we advise patients to rest the affected area for 24-48 hours. After receiving treatment, patients are still able to continue with light day-to-day activities but should avoid any strenuous exercise.
Shockwave therapy is not suitable for people under 18 years of age, if patients are taking blood thinning medication, have a pacemaker, have a history of cancer or malignancy in the are being treated or they are pregnant.