What is shockwave?
An acoustic wave which carries high energy to painful spots and myoskeletal tissue with subacute, acute and chronic conditions. This energy promotes regeneration and reparative processes of the bones, tendons and other soft tissues.
In Europe, Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) has been used for over 15 years on several musculoskeletal disorders. Some authors have reported results of shockwave therapy are comparable with that after surgical treatment and without the risks and complications of surgery.
Studies show shockwave yielded 91% satisfactory results with only a 6% recurrence rate at 6-12 month follow-up. At 5-6 year follow-up, 82% reported good to excellent results with only an 11% recurrence rate.
Overall, ESWT is more effective with less recurrence than any other conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis in the long term.
There is a 75% success rate in patients with (lateral) Achilles tendinopathy. A recent study also noted a significant reduction in activity pain (pain score of 8.3 down to 3.0 = 67%).
SW induces accelerated tissue repair and cell growth, analgesia and mobility restoration.
It also promotes new blood vessel formation, which helps improve blood supply and oxygenation of the treated area and support faster healing of both the tendon and bone.
SW aims to reverse chronic inflammation as it can damage healthy tissue that results in chronic pain.
It releases trigger points found in the lower limbs that, if untreated, can contract muscles so tightly and cut off their own blood supply.
Who is shockwave suited for?
Individuals who have received no benefit from physiotherapy, stretching and strengthening programs and cortisone injections.
Recurrent pain following interventions.
Athletes who require recovery within a short time frame/limited rest period.
People who do not want or are not suited for surgery.
How does shockwave work?
The treatment consists of a minimum of 6 treatments of 2000-3000 pulses.
The treatment area/s is located by the patient biofeedback on the area of greatest discomfort.
SW is a non-invasive treatment option and does not require anaesthesia.
The rest time following a single SW session is only up to 48hrs.
Are there any adverse effects?
There have been no significant, irreversible complications noted in literature.
Most commonly, patients may temporarily experience superficial bruising, mild numbness and/or tingling.
Who isn't allowed SW therapy?
It is not recommended for pregnant women, individuals with malignant primary diseases and coagulation disorders to undergo shockwave therapy.