What conditions can shockwave therapy help?
- Plantar fasciitis (arch pain)
- Achilles tendonitis (heel pain)
- Lateral / Medial Epicondylitis (Tennis / Golfers elbow)
- Trochanteric pain (hip pain)
- Hamstring pain (hamstring insertional tendinopathy)
- Patella tendonitis (Jumpers knee)
Why do I need shockwave therapy?
Tendon injuries can be very difficult to treat, and this can often take months. Sometimes they never fully recover. Standard treatment for tendon injuries involves an individualised treatment plan of the following: acupuncture, manual therapy, soft tissue release, stretches, taping/bracing, and a progressive strengthening programme, as well as modifying your training load. However sometimes this simply isn’t enough. Shockwave therapy is another conservative option that can help to speed up tendon healing. Some research has even shown that shockwave therapy can be more effective than 3 months of rehabilitation.
What is shockwave therapy?
Shockwave therapy sends acoustic waves that carry high energy (via an applicator) into injured tissues. This creates microtrauma, which helps healing. It does this by providing immediate pain relief, as well as promoting tendon repair by stimulating the growth of new blood vessels into tissues, promoting growth factors, increasing cell proliferation, decreasing inflammation and mobilising stem cells.
What should I expect?
- Your Physiotherapist will identify the area to be treated based on a clinical assessment and using palpation (touch). They will then apply some ultrasound gel.
- They will deliver the shock waves via a hand-held device, applying gentle pressure. They will start on a low intensity and low frequency setting so you can get comfortable with the feeling. Depending on your tolerance, they will slowly increase the settings to a defined and specified parameter to treat your individual injury. Most people find the treatment uncomfortable, rather than painful. Most people need a total of 2,000 shocks over a 5-10 minute period. As the treatment duration is so short, even though it may be painful, most people are able to tolerate this over such a short time.
- We will contact you the next day to make sure you’re ok! There may be some tenderness for 2-3 days following treatment.
- Most people need 3-6 treatments, 1 week apart. You might notice an immediate improvement in your pain, however you should see the best results 12 weeks after your first treatment.
Will I be sore?
You should notice an immediate improvement in your pain level. However, after 2-4 hours, you may feel a bruised/tender feeling, which may last 2-3 days after your treatment. This is a sign that the treatment has worked, and a healing response is happening in the tissues.
Do NOT ice the area, or take anti-inflammatories. This can slow your healing processes, and will decrease the effectiveness of the shock wave therapy.
Should I avoid activity after my treatment?
It is recommended to rest from physical activity, especially anything that involves your treated area, for 48 hours following each session.
Is shockwave therapy dangerous?
Please call or book in to see one of us to discuss if shockwave therapy is safe for you. We will always do a risk assessment before treatment. We know from experience that there are certain injuries that will likely respond better or worse to shockwave therapy, however we will always put your safety first.
You should avoid shockwave therapy if:
- You have had a steroid injection in the last 6 weeks
- You are pregnant
- You have a blood clotting disorder (including thrombosis)
- You are on Warfarin or any other anticoagulants
- You have a pacemaker
- You have a tumour present at the treatment site
- You have an infection or skin abrasion at the treatment site
- You are under 18 (except for the treatment of Osgood-Schlatter disease)