Shockwave Therapy uses a machine which fires an acoustic 'pulse' into damaged tissue through a special hand piece with the aim of reducing pain and stimulating a healing response.
The therapy was initially used in assisting the removal of kidney stones via external application on the skin.
Shockwave Therapy is mainly used as an adjunctive treatment in tendon injuries, such as achilles, gluteal (trochanteric bursitis) and patellar tendinopathy.
Shockwave Therapy also has particular benefits for plantar fasciitis and insertional achilles tendinopathy. Shockwave Therapy works best when combined with other treatment modalities such as strengthening and soft tissue massage.
How shockwave works is only partly understood and currently there are a number of studies internationally to assist in further understanding the science behind the outstanding results we are seeing with shockwave therapy.
The current understanding is that the shockwave application causes a release of substance P from the terminal vesicles of nerves which cause an immediate decrease in pain and this substance P also causes blood vessels to dilate (increase blood flow) which facilitates further healing of the tissue. The nerves that cause pain are almost paralysed so that patients will do a task that usually causes pain and find that this is almost pain free.
Usually patients require 3-4 treatments. Patients usually have an immediate improvement from shockwave. Then from the second treatment the pain reduces further and by the third session there is a significant decrease in pain which is longstanding.
We do expect patients to carry out specific strengthening exercises in consultation with a physiotherapists or other practitioner who specialises in tendon rehabilitation for long term results.
Treatment only lasts 10-15 minutes and patients only feel mild discomfort during the treatment.
Shockwave therapy is currently performed by Physiotherapists Andrew Wigg and Nick Meffin, as well as podiatrist Scott Murray and Sports Physician Dr Nick Van Wetering. To book in with these practitioners, click here