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A Little About Shockwave Therapy

Tendon pain can be unrelenting.

Achilles, Patella, Plantar Fasciopathy and High Hamstring soreness can be a real pain in the arse, or heel, or knee..

You get my drift.

Tendon rehabilitation is my absolute passion. I think it appeals to my simple nature.

The aim is to decrease the bulk of the irritable stimulus

Modify the biomechanics to place less stress through the painful tissue

And progressively strengthen the structure

Most people will return to normal life and activity levels within a number of months.

However, what do you do if this process has failed you?

Or, what do you do if you want to give your body every possible chance of recovering effectively within the shortest time frame?

Or Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a modality that sends acoustic waves into the body via a handheld applicator. This transfer of energy has an impact on different pain, and tissue adaptations and tricks cells into repairing themselves.

Watch this video for an ultrasound scan of how the energy transfer looks through the skin.

Shockwave therapy is a proven method of treatment for the following conditions

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Achilles Tendinopathy
  • Hamstring Pain
  • Patella Tendinopathy
  • Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy
  • Trochanteric Bursitis
  • Sacroiliac Pain
  • Chronic Frozen Shoulders
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
  • Biceps Tendinopathy
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golfers Elbow
  • Tibialis Posterior Tendinopathy

This does not mean that other tendon problems would not benefit from the treatment modality, it just means that at this time there is minimal research investigating the specific benefit.

Shockwave treatment itself is relatively fast and minimally painful, with the treatment lasting between 5-10 mins.

You may have heard some horror stories about how painful the treatment is.

Anecdotally I have never had a patient who struggles to cope with the discomfort, but the pressure of the impulses can be reduced to suit your tolerance. However, there is evidence to suggest that you should try and cope with as much discomfort as you can tolerate as it will improve your immediate pain reduction after the treatment (Vallance and Malliaras, 2019; Zhang, Lee and Fu, 2020).

For those patients who have failed to improve their tendon pain from previous Physiotherapy methods there is still hope!

Studies have looked at this exact phenomenon and have showed very favourable results.

The studies show that even if patients have failed previous physio treatment. 3-5 sessions of shockwave will get you to a much improved pain state at rest and with high level activities (Lohrer, Scholl and Arentz, 2002).

Rehab will always and should always be the mainstay of any tendon pain problem.

However, Shockwave therapy offers an invaluable option to reduce pain, fast or to help encourage healing in the most stubborn of tendon pains.

If you have any questions or would like to find out how this information could apply to you feel free to get in touch today or go online to BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT

Lohrer, H., Scholl, J. and Arentz, S., 2002. Achilles tendinopothy and patellar tendinopathy. Results of radial shockwave therapy in patients with unsuccessfully treated tendinoses. Sportverletzung-Sportschaden, 16(3), pp. 108-114.

Vallance, P. and Malliaras, P., 2019. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy of Healthy Achilles Tendons Results in a Conditioned Pain Modulation Effect: A Randomised Exploratory Cross-Over Trial. Mltj-Muscles Ligaments and Tendons Journal, 9(2), pp. 262-271.

Zhang, Z.J., Lee, W.C. and Fu, S.N., 2020. One Session of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy-Induced Modulation on Tendon Shear Modulus is Associated with Reduction in Pain. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 19(2), pp. 309-316.

Posted by Adam Rutter on April 17th 2021

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