Shockwave therapy is a safe, non-invasive treatment for many tendon and muscle dysfunctions. This is a tool that applies acoustic pressure waves to the injured area, creating a local inflammatory response to stimulate and accelerate cell healing. It also increases blood flow to the injured area and dissolves calcifications.
Shockwave therapy has been shown to be effective for a multitude of conditions, including (but not limited to):
- Lateral epicondylalgia (tennis elbow)
- Patellar tendinopathy (jumper’s knee)
- Shoulder tendinitis and tendinopathies
- Calcific tendinitis
- Achilles’ tendinitis and tendinopathies
- Plantar fasciitis
- Myofascial trigger points
- Hallux rigidus (stiff big toe)
- Greater trochanteric pain syndrome
- Heel spurs
- Trigger finger
During your initial appointment for shockwave therapy, your physiotherapist will conduct a detailed assessment to determine whether shockwave would be an appropriate treatment for you. If you are an appropriate candidate your physiotherapist will then administer the treatment, which itself lasts approximately 3-5 minutes. It is common to experience some mild pain or discomfort during the treatment, and the intensity of the shockwave will be adjusted accordingly. Because the goal of the treatment is to promote healing by stimulating a local inflammatory response, some people may experience mild soreness, redness, and swelling over the treated area for about 24 hours following treatment. The remainder of your treatment session will consist of a combination of manual therapy and remedial exercises to reinforce the effects of the shockwave.
The exact number of sessions required will depend on the nature of the injury and on individual response to the shockwave treatment. Most people can expect to notice a change within 3-6 sessions. As shockwave therapy has a cumulative effect, more than one treatment is typically needed to provide longer lasting relief.