Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy, also known as Extra corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), is a clinically proven and highly effective treatment for chronic soft tissue injuries and certain bone conditions.

An extracorporeal shockwave is defined as a non-evasive, non-electrical high energy sound wave that passes through the body via a hand-held probe. The shock waves produce a rapid increase in blood circulation to the target area and will break down fibrous scar tissue which builds up over time, especially with chronic conditions.

The break-down of scar tissue is the key to why shockwave therapy is so effective. Unlike normal elasticated tissue, scar tissue is non-elastic and will prevent normal movement and function, thereby weakening the unaffected tissue surrounding it, often causing further damage and pain. By increasing circulation and breaking-down scar tissue, shockwave therapy will stimulate cell regeneration and promote normal healing and rapid reduction of pain. Normal function can then be restored.

What does ShockWave Therapy treat? Shockwave therapy can be effective on a wide range of soft tissue and bony conditions. Here are some examples of conditions where shockwave has effectively treated and restored normal function:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Heel pain, heel spurs
  • Hamstring tendinopathy
  • Shoulder pain, e.g. calcific lesions of the rotator cuff and bony spurs
  • Lateral epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
  • Medial epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow)
  • Patellar tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)
  • Tibial stress syndrome (Shin Pain)
  • Achilles tendonitis

  • To see more information on how Radial Shockwave Therapy works please visit the Shockwave Therapy website

    What is Radial Shockwave Therapy?

    Radial Shockwave therapy is a procedure where shock waves are passed through the skin using a special device. Extracorporeal means outside of the body. The shockwaves are mechanical and not electric. They are audible, low-energy sound waves, which work by increasing blood flow to the injured area. This speeds up your body's healing process.

    How does it work?

    • Treatment produces an inflammatory response. The body responds by increasing metabolic activity around the site of pain. This stimulates and accelerates the healing process (promotes the remodelling of dysfunctional collagenous tissues, such as tendinopathies, trigger points, muscle strains, etc.).
    • Shockwaves break down scar tissue and/or calcification
    • Transmission of pain is diminished through neurological mechanisms (inhibition of nociceptors)

    What is the success rate of this kind of treatment?

    Documented international results show an overall result rate of 77% of chronic conditions that have not been cured with other kinds of treatment. Other benefits include

    • No need for anaesthetic
    • Non-invasive procedure
    • No need for surgery or medication
    • No hospital admission
    • No lengthy rehabilitation, loss of mobility or time away from work
    • Fewer complications
    • Significant clinical benefit often seen 6-8 weeks after treatment

    What are the risks/side effects?

    Side effects are rare, however you may experience mild discomfort/reddening of the skin or bruising in the area for a short time.

    What conditions does Shockwave Therapy treat?

    Shockwave therapy can be effective on a wide range of soft tissue and bony conditions. Here are some examples of conditions where shockwave has effectively treated and restored normal function:

    Commonly asked questions

    How long does the treatment last?

    Approximately 1500 to 2000 shocks are administered per treatment area (the duration of which is approximately 5-10 minutes). Some patients and/or conditions require more shocks and duration, depending on severity and chronicity (how long the condition or injury has existed).

    How many treatments will I need?

    Normally three to five treatments are necessary at weekly intervals; there is a small possibility that 2 or more additional treatments may be necessary if your condition is very chronic.

    Does the treatment hurt?

    Sometimes the treatment is uncomfortable or a bit painful, but most people are able to easily tolerate it. When the treatment starts it will feel like someone is tapping / pinching firmly on the site being treated. If this becomes too uncomfortable you should notify your physiotherapist as the intensity of treatment can be reduced however, having some pain during the treatment illustrates that shockwaves are having a positive effect.

    Will it hurt after the treatment?

    You will normally experience a reduced level of pain or no pain at all immediately after the treatment, but a dull and diffuse pain may occur a few hours later. This dull pain can last for a day or so and in rare cases a little bit longer.

    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 (such as ibuprofen) or ice therapy, as these can interfere with the body's healing process. The pain should subside within 24 hours. Use Paracetamol if necessary, provided you have no trouble with this medication.

    What do I need to do after treatment?

    You will be able to return to your usual activities straight away and can return to work immediately. However we advise you not to undertake any strenuous, pain-provoking activity or high-impact exercise for 48 hours following the procedure, even if there is no pain.

    Are there contraindications or precautions that I should be aware of?

    Yes. Contraindications include:

    • you are pregnant
    • you have a pacemaker or any other electrical implants
    • people who have haemophilia or blood clotting disorders
    • anticoagulants (for example warfarin or rivaroxaban)
    • currently undergoing treatment for cancer or with a history of bone cancer
    • acute inflammation in the area being treated
    • you have had a steroid (cortisone) injection into the affected area in the previous 11 weeks

    Book an Appointment
    049 437 2077