Shock Wave Therapy (also known as Extra-Corporeal Shock Wave Therapy ESWT) is a non-invasive therapy technique commonly used for chronic conditions including plantar fasciitis/fasciosis (heel pain), Achilles tendonosis, as well as other chronic tendon pathologies.
How does shock wave therapy work?
Shock Wave technology effectively stimulates the body’s intrinsic repair mechanisms to restore normal tissue and heal injured tissue. Re-vascularisation occurs in the target tissues, producing new blood vessels which improves blood flow and removal of waste products. Shock Wave therapy essentially turns a chronic injury into an acute injury by its action on damaged tissue. The collagen in the damaged tissue gradually regenerates and the damaged area eventually heals. In other words, Shock Wave Therapy is all about activating the body’s self-healing abilities to regenerate the damaged tissues.
What to expect?
Each treatment session lasts approximately 20 minutes. The treatment is generally NOT painful at all – NO local anaesthetic or no numbing cream is needed.
The shockwave machine handpiece is placed on the target area and the machine will transmit shockwaves deep into the region. The intensity of the machine is varied depending on the type of injury & patient feedback.
Following the treatment, the patient may report tenderness, soreness and/or swelling for a few days following. This inflammatory response is expected as part of the body’s healing process.
How many treatments of shockwave therapy do I need?
Most patients who are being treated for Plantar Fasciits or Achilles Tendonitis / Tendinosis with shockwave therapy will usually have between 3 and 6 sessions. However, having one treatment only still helps due to the increase in blood flow.
Shockwave therapy is generally used is an adjunct to other treatments for the management of the injury. At Sydney Foot clinic, we will implement a treatment regime in addition to the shockwave therapy treatment to manage your pain.
- Rompe et al (2008) Eccentric loading compared with shock wave treatment for chronic insertional achilles tendinopathy. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 90:52-61.
- Han et al (2009) Effect of extracorporeal shock wave therapy on cultured tenocytes, foot and ankle International. 30:93-98.
- Furia et al (2007) Extracorporeal shock wave therapy in the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinopathy. Current Opin Orthop, 18:101-111.