What is extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT)?
ESWT has been proven to be effective in treating plantar fasciitis and heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, Morton’s neuroma, and many more foot conditions. It is a series of high-energy percussions to the affected area. The shockwave is a physical soundwave “shock”, not an electric one.
How does it work?
Treatment produces an inflammatory response and the body responds by increasing metabolic activity around the site of pain. This stimulates and accelerates the healing process by promoting the remodeling of dysfunctional collagenous tissues. The acoustic waves break down scar tissue and/or calcification, and the transmission of pain is diminished through neurological mechanisms.
What are the benefits of shockwave therapy?
ESWT is a non-invasive treatment which stimulates the body’s natural self-healing process. There are minimal side effects and does not require any medication or anaesthesia. It is a great alternative to surgery, and works quickly to reduce pain and improve range of motion.
How many treatments are required?
Studies have shown that an average of 3-6 sessions at weekly intervals are typically required for maximum benefit. Approximately 2000 shocks are administered per treatment area (the duration of which is approximately 5 minutes). Some patients and/or conditions require sessions depending on the severity and how long the condition or injury has existed.
Does the treatment hurt?
The treatment may be fairly uncomfortable, but most people are able to easily tolerate it. Adjustments on the machine can be made to decrease the pressure you feel. Some discomfort may be experienced 2-4 hours after the treatment. In some cases, it can last up to 48 hours and in very rare cases, the pain can last up to 5 days.
What is the success rate of this treatment?
A successful treatment is considered as a patient having at least 75% reduction in pain within 3 months. Worldwide, success rates are around 80 to 90% after 2-3 sessions.
What are the contraindications and side effects of this treatment?
Contraindications include pregnancy, cancer patients, children in growth, patients with pacemakers or those taking anticoagulants. Side effects generally abate after 5 to 10 days. These include swelling, reddening, hematomas, bruising and pain.