What is extracorporeal radial shockwave therapy? 

Extracorporeal Radial Shockwave Therapy is a series of high-energy percussions to the affected area. The shockwave is a physical sound wave “shock,” not an electric one. 

How does it work? 

1) Treatment produces an inflammatory response. The body responds by increasing metabolic activity around the site of pain. This stimulates and accelerates the healing process 

2)  Shockwave breaks down scar tissue and possibly calcification as well 

3)  Transmission of pain is blocked 

What is the success rate of this kind of treatment? 

Research suggests results show an overall result improvement rate of 77% of chronic conditions that have not been cured with other kinds of treatment. It is important to highlight that we would expect positive clinical outcomes following treatment however there is a chance that the treatment may not improve your symptoms. At SPARC we aim to resolve issues predominantly using physiotherapy and rehabilitation as the first line of treatment, and shockwave is an adjunct to this treatment. For best results prescribed physiotherapy and rehab treatment must be adhered to.

What are the benefits of Shockwave Treatment? 

This therapy works without the use of X-rays or drugs; it stimulates the body’s natural self- healing process. There is actually an immediate reduction of pain and improved ease of movement. Secondary effects are minor. Shockwave therapy may also eliminate your need for surgery. 

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How long does the treatment last? 

1000-3000 shocks are administered per session, which last approximately 5-10 minutes. Your physiotherapist will administer your treatment based on best practice for individual conditions.

How many treatments will I need? 

Normally three treatments are necessary at weekly intervals for acute issues; For chronic conditions it is recommended to undertake 4 sessions. There is a small possibility that additional treatments may be necessary if your condition is very chronic. 

What indications are Shockwave Therapy used to treat? 

  • Plantar Fasciitis

  • Lateral/Medial elbow tendinopathy (tennis elbow/golfers elbow)

  • Frozen Shoulder

  • Plantar Fascia

  • Heel Spurs

  • Morton’s Neuroma

  • Shoulder tendinopathies (Calcific Rotator Cuff Tendinitis)

  • Hallux Rigid

  • Bursitis

  • Achilles Tendinopathy

  • Patellar tendinopathy (Jumpers Knee)

  • Anterior Tibial Syndrome

  • Stress Fractures

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Trochanteric Bursitis

  • Hamstring tendon

  • Adductor tendon

shockwave patella tendonitis.jpg

Who performs the treatment? 

Your chartered physiotherapist performs the treatment

What are the risks? 

Complications do not normally happen with shock wave therapy. It is low risk but is not always successful. 

It can cause increased pain and sensitivity, which normally gets better with time. 

People who have poor sensation (neuropathy) or hypersensitivity at the proposed treatment site should not have ESWT. 

When should I not have ESWT and when do I need to be careful about treatment? 

ESWT is NOT allowed if you: 

are pregnant 

have had a steroid injection to the same area in the last three months 

have an infection, wound or tissue problems at the proposed treatment site 

have poor sensation (neuropathy) or hypersensitivity in the target area. 

You must tell the clinician if you: 

have a cardiac pacemaker
are taking any anti-coagulant (blood thinning) medication are taking any anti-inflammatory medication. 

Are there any alternatives? 

Tendon problems can also be treated through physiotherapy with exercise, activity modification, footwear or splints. 

How can I prepare for ESWT? 

Make sure you wear good supportive footwear and continue to follow the advice given by your clinician. 

You should stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, 24 hours before ESWT treatment. 

Asking for your consent 

It is important that you are involved in decisions about your care, and you are required to sign a consent form to indicate that you agree to have the treatment and understand what it involves. You can change your mind at any time, even if you have signed the consent form. If you would like more details about the consent process, please ask for a copy of our policy. 

What does the treatment involve? 

We offer three sessions of shockwave therapy, with one or two weeks in between. Each treatment takes between five and ten minutes. 

What should I do after treatment? 

You can carry on with your usual activities but avoid any exercise which feels painful for two days (48 hours) after treatment. 

Don’t put ice on the treated area, or take any non-steroidal anti- inflammatory medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen or diclofenac, as this will stop the inflammatory and healing processes the shockwave treatment has started. 

You may feel pain relief from the treatment straight away, but long term effects are normally felt after three months. You will have a follow up appointment in clinic three months after your treatment. 

What if it doesn’t work for me? 

If it does not work, you should discuss with your physiotherapist alternative options available to you.

What should I do if I am in pain after the treatment? 

The shockwave will trigger an inflammatory response, which is the body’s natural process of healing. For this reason, do not use anti-inflammatory medications. Do not use ice. The pain should subside within 24 hours. 

What if it feels good after the treatment? 

Even if it feels good, we recommend decreased activity for 48 hours following the treatment. 

What to do now?

If you feel you would benefit from shockwave therapy, book online now. For your first session it is important to book a 45 shockwave appointment, as your chartered physiotherapist will determine your suitability for treatment.