Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive medical treatment that employs high-energy acoustic waves to stimulate the body’s natural healing process, relieve pain and promote tissue regeneration. It has gained popularity as a safe and effective alternative to surgical intervention for certain conditions.
There are two types of Shockwave Therapy; Radial and Focused. The primary difference between Radial and Focused Shockwave Therapy lies in the way the shockwaves are delivered. Radial shockwave therapy spreads the energy over a broader treatment area, making it suitable for larger regions and more superficial conditions. This is the more commonly used type of Shockwave and is what we use at The Forge Clinic. Focused shockwave therapy, on the other hand, uses a single, high-energy shockwave which can penetrate deeper into the area of injury.
WHAT CAN BE TREATED WITH SHOCKWAVE THERAPY?
Radial Shockwave Therapy has shown efficacy in treating a range of musculoskeletal conditions, including:
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
Patellar tendinopathy (knee)
Calcific tendinitis of the shoulder
Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (hip)
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
The number of treatments required will vary depending on the condition being treated. Typically, a course of treatment consists of 3- 6 sessions, usually spaced at weekly intervals. Your practitioner will assess your condition and recommend the appropriate number of treatments.
HOW DOES SHOCKWAVE THERAPY WORK?
Shockwave therapy is usually used following manual therapy, and alongside exercise prescription. Your practitioner will first carry out a detailed assessment to confirm suitability for treatment. Whilst the first session will be slightly longer to allow for a full assessment, most follow up treatments will be around 20 minutes.
Your practitioner will apply gel to the area being treated and then the handheld device is used to deliver controlled mechanical pressure waves or shockwaves to the area of concern. This process will create a loud ‘ticking’ sound from the machine.
You may experience some discomfort during treatment however your practitioner will adjust the level of treatment to ensure this is tolerable.
Following the treatment your practitioner will discuss any transient side effects of treatment and aftercare advice to follow.
IS SHOCKWAVE THERAPY SAFE?
Yes! Shockwave Therapy is considered a safe and effective treatment when performed by a qualified practitioner.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidelines for the use of Shockwave Therapy with conditions such as Achilles Tendinopathy, Calcific Tendonitis of the Shoulder, Plantar Fasciitis and Tennis Elbow.
Treatment is well-tolerated by most patients, and any adverse effects such as bruising, reddening of skin, or discomfort, are typically minimal and transient.