What is it?
Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical treatment for certain soft tissue injuries or chronic conditions predominantly affecting tendons. It works by delivering impulses of energy to the target tissues causing an increase in blood flow to the area. This stimulates cell regeneration and healing and reduces the level of local chemical factors that can cause pain and inflammation.
Why might my doctor recommend shock-wave therapy?
Shockwave therapy can be an effective second line treatment after failed physiotherapy or other conservative measures in disorders affecting tendons and soft tissues such as plantar fasciitis tennis elbow Achilles tendinopathy and shoulder pain.
What is involved?
Your doctor will work with you in the clinic to identify the area of maximal discomfort and a probe will be placed directly over the area of injured tissue. This probe will direct high-intensity radial waves through the tissues initiating an inflammatory type response promoting healing of the tissue. The waves will be felt as pulses which can be uncomfortable but not normally painful. The treatment is carried out in the outpatient setting in our musculoskeletal clinic in Surrey over a number of weeks often with an increasing intensity of treatment and shockwave force. You will normally have between 3 and 5 treatments.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) What are the risks?
This is a non-invasive non-surgical treatment and has very little risks associated with it.
2) When will I know that is has worked?
Many patients notice an immediate improvement in pain and other symptoms following the treatment but others take several weeks to respond fully.
3) Is there anything I cannot do after treatment?
We would normally recommend relative rest over the period of your treatment although there is no restriction in day-to-day activities. We would also recommend reducing the amount of anti-inflammatories you may take over the course of treatment as this can interfere with the response the shockwaves are trying to create within the tissues.