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Shockwave Therapy

What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave Therapy treatment is a highly effective treatment available for patients with chronic tendon disorders. It is used widely by Sports Physicians & Orthopaedic Surgeons around the world. Shockwave therapy is a very successful form of treatment for patients who fail to respond to appropriate physiotherapy.

Shockwave therapy machine2

Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical and non-invasive form of treatment. It works by delivering impulses of energy. Targeting specifically damaged tissues within the abnormal tendon or tissue. This increases the blood flow within the affected area, stimulating cell regeneration and healing. This helps to decrease local factors which can cause pain.

How does Shockwave Therapy work?

A gel is applied to the skin. The probe is then pressed on to the affected area and the shockwaves are delivered. The impulses are delivered through the skin as a shockwave that spreads inside the injured tissue as an aspherical ‘radial’ wave. These radial shockwaves initiate an inflammation-like response in the injured tissue. This encourages the body to increase blood circulation, the number of blood vessels and therefore metabolism in the injured tissue.

The shockwaves are felt as pulses which are a little uncomfortable but not painful. This was first developed for the treatment of kidney stones. It has now been re-developed for the use in treating tendon, ligament and soft tissue conditions.

The patient is treated in an outpatient setting and the procedure does not require any type of sedation or anaesthetic.

What conditions is Shockwave Therapy good for?

Shockwave therapy is useful for any type of acute or chronic tendinopathy or tendinosis and soft tissue conditions.

These include:

  • Tennis/golfers elbow (lateral/medial epicondylitis)
  • Achilles’ Tendinitis
  • Jumpers Knee (Patella tendinitis/tendinosis)
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Lateral hip pain (trochanteric bursitis)
  • Tendonitis of the shoulder

What happens before and during Shockwave Therapy?

The patient is assessed to make sure the diagnosis is correct and that shockwave therapy is most appropriate treatment for the condition. This involves a full clinical work up with a detailed history and examination. On occasions a diagnostic ultrasound/MRI scan may be required to confirm a diagnosis prior to treatment.
Shockwave therapy takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes. It is performed weekly for a total of 3 treatments. The patient is then reviewed 4 weeks following the third treatment to reassess their symptoms. Sometimes if the patient still has ongoing symptoms, a further 2 treatments may be required. The full effects of this treatment are usually seen at about 3 months.

What should I expect after treatment?

Many patients experience an improvement in symptoms almost immediately after shockwave therapy. Others can take several weeks to respond. There may be a transient reddening or swelling of the area. A small number of patients can experiencing a brief increase in pain. It may take several weeks to see an overall benefit.

For further information or to make an appointment to see our Sports Doctor please call 3831 8888.