Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
Many of the injuries that shockwave therapy is used for are chronic in nature, meaning that they have been around for a long time and often will often have numerous micro lesions to the tissue that have built up over a long period of time.
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) FAQ’s
What is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy delivers a wave of energy to the effected tissues. This energy triggers an inflammatory response, increasing blood flow to the area. This harnesses the bodies healing response and can actually reverse degenerative change in conditions such as plantar fasciitis, tennis and golfers elbow (lateral and medial epicondylitis) and Achilles tendon injuries, by helping to ‘reset’ the tissue to healthier state.
Which conditions can Shockwave Therapy help?
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
- Tennis (or golfers) elbow
- Hamstring Tendinopathy
- Sub-acromial pain syndrome (rotator cuff pain)
- Frozen shoulder
- Patellar tendinopathy (jumper’s knee)
- Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
- Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (outer hip pain)
- Mortons Neuroma
- Lower back pain
Does it Work?
It depends on the condition but studies have shown response rates of between 60 and 90%. The real benefit though is that the long term outcomes (i.e 1 + years) are also excellent, whereas other treatments may work but only for a short period. If Shockwave is used alongside other rehabilitation methods, the results are magnified and decreases the chance of relapse.
Shockwave Therapy is recommended in the NICE guidelines for various tendinopathies and is recognised and used by top orthopaedic hospitals. More information on these guidelines can be found here.
How many sessions are usually required?
This will depend on the injury, but most treatments will require between 3 and 6 sessions with up to 8 session needed in very severe cases.
Does it hurt? Are there any side effects?
Shockwave treatment does cause discomfort but shouldn’t be painful. A small number of patients will report a temporary increase in the pain level of their injury, swelling and bruising, or numbness to the treated area. All of this is temporary and usually doesn’t get in the way of your daily routines, with most people seeing significant improvements in their conditions after the second and third treatment.
Is Shockwave covered by my medical insurance?
Insurance providers do cover Shockwave treatment costs, but as policies vary enormously please check with your provider about what your specific policy covers.