Shockwave Treatment In Sports Medicine
Shockwave has been used in treating various tendinopathies since the 1990s, however, there has been extensive research and technology has undergone various developmental changes.
ESWT (Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy) is used in many countries around the world to treat various tendinopathies. There have been many randomised controlled studies to show the effectiveness and safety of shockwave therapy. Here are some:
“Efficacy and safety of extracorporeal shock wave therapy for orthopaedic conditions: a systematic review on studies listed in the PEDro database”
“Shockwave as Biological Therapeutic Tool: from mechanical stimulation to recovery and healing, through Mechanotransduction”
What is Shockwave Therapy?
It is a high- energy sound wave NO RADIATION. The sound wave is delivered to the tissue via a probe, the strong compressor generates air pressure of up to 60 miles and hits the metal probe, transmitting the energy to the applied tissue. The maximum effect is on the skin and disperses 3-4 cms in the tissue with radial Shockwave Therapy.
How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
When the sound energy is delivered to the tissue, it stimulates the pro-inflammatory response and stimulates Healing, the osteoblasts/fibroblast stimulation and neo-angiogenesis. Therefore, taking tissues from chronic state to an acute state. It helps break down the calcium deposits by cavitation effect. It facilitates the Rehabilitation progression by pain reduction.
Number of Sessions
Usually, 3 to 5 sessions of treatment are required. One to two weeks apart. Patients are advised to avoid using anti-inflammatory medicines, gels and icing the area after the treatment. Patient needs to stay away from strenuous physical activities during the period of receiving the treatment, however, to continue with low impact close chain exercises and loading.
What Conditions Does Shockwave Therapy Work the Best?
NICE guidelines (National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence) and FDA has approved Shockwave therapy treatment for the following musculoskeletal conditions.
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Greater Trochanteric Pain syndrome (Lateral Hip Pain)
- Tennis Elbow
- Calcific Tendinopathy e.g. supraspinatus tendon calcification
The improvements in the symptoms are more noticeable after 12 weeks of the treatment and rehabilitation. However, long term benefits occur with the combination of Rehabilitation and Shockwave therapy together.