Understanding Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy has been used in orthopedics for at least 20 years. As the name suggests, extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) means outside the body. This is a non-invasive treatment and very effective for painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or a heel spur.

There are several shockwave machines that produce very different results. There are 2 main types:

The first is a true shockwave therapy machine that produces very intense, concentrated, focused shockwaves and is used for things like destroying kidney stones without surgical intervention. These machines are used in hospitals and we will not talk about them here.

The second type of shockwave therapy machines produce much softer, radially dispersed impact waves, which is much better tolerated. In reality, this is not a true shockwave, but a radial sound wave or a Radial Shockwave. For the purposes of this article the term Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT) will be used.

The Radial Shock Wave is generated by a pneumatically or electromagnetically propelled ballistic projectile that is suddenly stopped against the stop plate. This all happens in a head piece that is held against a treated part outside the body where the impact wave is causing controlled impact on tissue.

Some positive results are:

1. Increased local metabolism.

2. Increased cellular activity.

3. Stimulates the formation of new blood vessels.

4. Pain-reducing anesthetic effect.

Series of three or four treatments are the most accepted approach. Usually every 7 to 10 days apart. Sound waves are transmitted to the affected area, where they stimulate the body’s own natural healing response. It requires no local anesthetics. It takes about 5 minutes to deliver 2000 pulses, this is the most generally recommended scenario. There is no residual pain afterwards, patients are able to return to their daily activity immediately.

If you have suffered from heel pain or plantar fasciitis for more than a few months and more conventional treatments, for example, custom orthotics or ultrasound or low-strength tape combined with cold laser therapy or cortisone injection have not produced acceptable results, you may be a candidate for Radial Sound Wave Therapy.

RSWT is effective against plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis / tendinosis, enthesopathy, osteoarthritis and other painful foot conditions. When combined with Cold Laser Treatment, healing times are further reduced.

Radial Shockwave Therapy is NOT recommended for pregnant women also for patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease, subject to prolonged bleeding, people with pacemakers.

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