Shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a revolutionary non-invasive technology used to treat painful and resistant tendon problems. The treatment involves powerful acoustic shockwaves passing through the skin to the affected area. Shockwave therapy can be very successful in patients who have failed to respond to conservative treatment of tendon pain. It will form the important first step to restoring strength in a degenerate tendon and returning to improved function. The combination of shockwave therapy and a graded tendon re-loading programme is recommended to give increased treatment benefits.
The shockwaves that are produced by the Storz Medical Masterpuls machine are generated by a projectile that is propelled at high speed by compressed air inside a hand-held applicator. When the applicator is placed on the surface of the skin the impulses are delivered through the skin as a shockwave that spreads inside the injured tissue as a ‘radial’ wave. These radial shockwaves initiate an inflammation-like response in the injured tissue that is being treated. This prompts the body to respond naturally by increasing blood circulation, the number of blood vessels and therefore metabolism in the injured tissue. This accelerates the body’s natural healing process by increasing cell generation and dissolving calcium deposits.
Usually three treatments are performed at weekly intervals at the Centre for Clinical Physiotherapy. Each treatment session takes about 20 minutes. A previous clinical assessment by a specialist is usually required to ensure that the diagnosis is correct and that this treatment is the most appropriate for your condition. A diagnostic ultrasound may be needed prior to effective treatment.
As ESWT is recommended by NICE, most private medical insurers will cover this treatment. However, it is essential that patients consult their insurance companies prior to their first appointment. Self-funding for Shockwave therapy is available. Please contact our team for further information.
Many patients experience an improvement in symptoms almost immediately while others take several weeks to respond. There may be a transient reddening or swelling of the area with some patients experiencing a brief increase in pain. It may take several weeks to see an overall benefit. Usually three treatments are required but occasional resistant cases may require five sessions.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory Achilles tendinopathy https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ipg312
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory plantar fasciitis https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ipg311
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory tennis elbow https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ipg313
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