ExtraCorporeal Shockwave therapy (ESWT)

Reduces pain & Promotes healing

ESWT is a noninvasive treatment that delivers mechanical, not electric, shock waves from the outside of the body. These audible, low-energy sound waves pass through skin to the injured soft tissue (muscle) to reduce pain and promote healing. The body responds to the shock waves by increasing blood circulation and metabolism at the site and breaking down the injured tissue. ESWT is a viable option for patients who suffer from chronic tendinopathy.


Research has demonstrated a 77% success rate using ESWT to treat a range of conditions. While it won’t work for everyone, it does help many people even when other treatments have not. ESWT has been found to be beneficial in treating these areas:

    • Rotator cuff

    • Lateral / Medial elbow

    • Lateral hip

    • Hamstring

    • Distal quadricep

    • Patellar tendon

    • Posterior tibial

    • Peroneals

    • Achilles

    • Plantar fascia

    • Pelvic Floor (erectile dysfunction)

Treatment:

You will be positioned comfortably on a treatment table. Gel will be applied to the affected area and a probe positioned over the gel. High intensity shock waves will be pulsed into the tissues (it can be quite noisy). Treatment takes between 5 to 20 minutes and may be slightly uncomfortable. If this happens, the pulses can be adjusted.


What can you expect after treatment?

Because ESWT initiates an inflammatory reaction in the tissues, you may be sore afterwards. If you are, taking non-prescription painkillers such as acetaminophen is advised. Avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Neuroproxin as they will interfere with the healing process. Don’t ice the area. You may experience some temporary side effects like swelling, redness, haematoma, local red spots, and numbness, but all should resolve within a few days.


Are there risks or side effects?

Some minor discomfort during treatment may be expected. After treatment, discomfort, redness, bruising, swelling, and numbness to the area may occur, but should resolve within a week. There is a very small risk of tendon or ligament rupture and damage to the soft tissue.


Consent

It is important that you be involved in decisions about your care and treatment. If you decide to go ahead with ESWT, you will be asked to sign a consent form that states that you agree to the treatment and that you understand what it involves.


You shouldn’t have ESWT if you:

  • Are pregnant

  • Take antiplatelets excluding aspirin 75mgs (for example, clopidogrel) or anticoagulants (such as warfarin)

  • Have a blood clotting disorder

  • Are under the age of 18

  • Have been diagnosed with bone cancer or are being treated for active cancer

  • Have an infection in your affected body part

  • Have a history of tendon or ligament rupture in the affected body part

  • Have had a steroid injection into the affected area in the previous 12 weeks


We will discuss these when treatment is offered.