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?
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.
- Korakakis, V., Whiteley, R., Tzavara, A., & Malliaropoulos, N. (2018). The effectiveness of extracorporeal shockwave therapy in common lower limb conditions: a systematic review including quantification of patient-rated pain reduction. British journal of sports medicine, 52(6), 387-407.
- Yin, M. C., Ye, J., Yao, M., Cui, X. J., Xia, Y., Shen, Q. X., … & Mo, W. (2014). Is extracorporeal shock wave therapy clinical efficacy for relief of chronic, recalcitrant plantar fasciitis? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo or active-treatment controlled trials. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 95(8), 1585-1593.
- Aqil, A., Siddiqui, M. R., Solan, M., Redfern, D. J., Gulati, V., & Cobb, J. P. (2013). Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is effective in treating chronic plantar fasciitis: a meta-analysis of RCTs. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®, 471(11), 3645-3652.
- Standaert, C. J. (2012). Shockwave therapy for chronic proximal hamstring tendinopathy. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 22(2), 170-171.
- Testa, G., Vescio, A., Perez, S., Consoli, A., Costarella, L., Sessa, G., & Pavone, V. (2020). Extracorporeal shockwave therapy treatment in upper limb diseases: a systematic review. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(2), 453.
- Malliaropoulos, N.; Thompson, D.; Meke, M.; Pyne, D.; Alaseirlis, D.; Atkinson, H.; Korakakis, V.; Lohrer, H. Individualised radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy (rESWT) for symptomatic calcific shoulder tendinopathy: A retrospective clinical study. BMC Musculoskelet. Disord. (2017), 18, 513
- Notarnicola, A., & Moretti, B. (2012). The biological effects of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (eswt) on tendon tissue. Muscles, ligaments and tendons journal, 2(1), 33.
- Lizis, P. (2015). Analgesic effect of extracorporeal shock wave therapy versus ultrasound therapy in chronic tennis elbow. Journal of physical therapy science, 27(8), 2563-2567.
- Auersperg, V., & Trieb, K. (2020). Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: an update. EFORT Open Reviews, 5(10), 584-592.
- Mani-Babu, S., Morrissey, D., Waugh, C., Screen, H., & Barton, C. (2015). The effectiveness of extracorporeal shock wave therapy in lower limb tendinopathy: a systematic review. The American journal of sports medicine, 43(3), 752-761.
- Liao, C. D., Tsauo, J. Y., Chen, H. C., & Liou, T. H. (2018). Efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave therapy for lower-limb tendinopathy: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation, 97(9), 605-619.
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