Shockwave Therapy is the application of shock waves in medicine. This is used on chronic tendon pain and is clinically proven to:
- Reduce pain felt by the nerve fibers,
- Increase circulation of blood into the surrounding soft tissues,
- Begin the healing process triggered by stem cell activation.
What creates the Shockwave?
The hand held piece of the kit has a small projectile that shoots back and forth within a cavity hitting a fixed applicator. The kinetic energy is converted into a shockwave that is delivered to the target through the skin.
Is Shockwave Therapy right for me?
Shockwave is perfect for you if you have been suffering with pain for longer than 3 months. The most common areas in which we treat with this are:
- Plantar Fasciitis: This is a condition that affects 1 in 10 of us during our lifetime. Most people experience pain on the inside of the heel but it can radiate up into the arch of the foot. Pain is often worse in the morning or after periods of rest.
- Achilles Tendinopathy: The Achilles tendon is the combination of tendons of the soleus, gastrocnemius and plantaris muscles and connects these muscles to the back of the heel. We are able to apply shock wave to the insertional point and mid-portion of the Achilles tendon.
What can I expect at my appointment?
An initial appointment one of our HCPC registered Podiatrists will assess and diagnose the cause of your pain. If this condition is something that responds well to treatment with Shockwaves, then this will be discussed and a treatment plan drawn out. This usually includes loading and stretching programs, and possible intervention of an orthoses.
If Shockwave Therapy is suitable for you, we will mark the area in which the treatment will be performed. We will also apply gel to the area to improve contact between your skin and the device. Once the treatment has begun you will be aware of a strange sensation which can be uncomfortable to start with. This then eases as the treatment continues.
A shockwave session can last between 5-10 minutes per area treated.
How many treatments will I need?
This will vary between patients and how long the injury has presented for. The evidence so far suggests that between 3 to 6 treatments will be needed to resolve the problem, depending on the person.
Will I be in pain after the treatment?
You will normally experience a reduced level of pain – or no pain at all – immediately after the treatment, but a mild and diffused pain may occur a few hours later. This dull pain can last for a day or so.
Even if you have no pain, we strongly recommend that you refrain from intensive activities that stress the treated area for the next 48 hours after each treatment.
What shall I do if I am in pain after the treatment?
Shockwave Therapy initiates a proflammatory condition in the tissue that is being treated. If necessary you may use ordinary prescription-free pain killers. Do not use anti-inflammatory medication and do not use ice on the treated area as both will interfere with the body’s self healing abilities.
What is the success rate of Shockwave Therapy?
Documented international results show an overall success rate of 77% in chronic conditions that have not been cured with other kinds of treatment. It is important to highlight that we would expect positive clinical outcomes following treatment, however there is a chance that the treatment may not improve your symptoms.
A review at 12 weeks is recommended following your final treatment. If at this stage your symptoms persist, you will be advised of alternative treatments/surgery by your Podiatrist.
Are there any contraindications or precautions that I should be aware of?
YES: Cortisone injections are not to be administered within the last 11 weeks prior to Shockwave Therapy treatment. Sometimes there may be some bruising and haemorrhaging tendencies and coagulation system disturbances. As such if you are on warfarin or other anti-coagulant therapies please notify your Podiatrist. If you have a cardiac pacemaker please notify your clinician prior to treatment as Shockwave Therapy may interfere with this.