Shockwave Therapy. Sounds interesting – but what is it?

Published: 22 Jul 2022

Shockwave Therapy.  Sounds interesting – but what is it?

Shockwave is a safe and non-invasive therapeutic device that has become more popular in the past 10-15 years for use in the treatment of particular musculoskeletal conditions. Recently the research and evidence for the use of shockwave has become stronger and its use in physiotherapy has grown.

How does it work?

We have Shockwave Therapy as part of our management of tendinopathies at both Penrith and Caringbah.

Shockwave is a device that generates a strong and rapid “pulse” or “wave” of air that is directed onto a muscle or tendon in the body through a metal applicator head. This wave is applied through ultrasound gel and creates a strong pressure/tapping feeling on the skin, a similar feeling to being tapped with a small hammer. Treatment is usually pain free and the pressure can be adjusted to make the treatment as comfortable as possible, depending on the patient’s comfort and level of pain.

How does it help with your recovery?

The theory behind Shockwave Therapy is that it helps stimulate the body’s natural healing process and promotes the healing response in the tendons. This stimulation improves blood flow and vascularisation, stimulates collagen production, breaks down calcification and temporarily provides pain relief. 

Recent evidence suggests that Shockwave Therapy is effective in treating chronic tendinopathies such as Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciopathy, tennis and golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff tendinopathy, proximal hamstring tendinopathy and patella tendinopathy. This therapy can be especially helpful for chronic tendon-related pain that is not responding well to other forms of therapy.

Is Shockwave Therapy right for you?

Shockwave Therapy is a safe and effective adjunct therapy that can be used in addition to exercise, soft tissue therapy, joint mobilisation and load modification to progress you towards your first pain free day.

If you would like to try Shockwave Therapy, speak to one of our physiotherapists to have a thorough assessment and help understand if it will be suitable to assist with your pain. 

Shockwave Therapy is applied with a handset like this one, and a gel medium. It can best be described as feeling like a tiny hammer.

Shockwave Therapy is available in our Caringbah and Penrith practices.




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Just for fun…