Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
Shock wave therapy, also referred to as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT), is a promising treatment for tendon injury. There is research evidence supporting the use of shock wave therapy in treating common tendon injuries, such as Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis and shoulder calcific tendinopathy. There is good evidence that ESWT improves treatment outcomes in Achilles tendinopathy over and above exercise.
What does treatment with ESWT involve?
A standard course of shock wave therapy involves three to four weekly treatments. You will feel some discomfort during the treatment, but this will subside quickly afterwards. You should avoid strenuous activity for 2 days post treatment
Safety, side-effects, contraindications
There are several studies using ESWT published in the medical literature and they indicate that ESWT is a safe treatment option. Occasionally people experience a bruised feeling, discomfort that may last for a day after treatment, or skin irritation. ESWT is contraindicated if you have a clotting disorder, are on anticoagulants, are pregnant, or have inflammation in the treatment area.
Do I need a referral?
No. You do not need a referral but you will need an initial assessment with our tendon specialist physiotherapist to see if shock wave therapy is suitable for you given your history, symptoms, previous treatment and ultrasound imaging. It is important to be assessed by an expert because shockwave has the potential to make some tendon injuries worse – for example, it will tend to stir up very acute and very symptomatic cases.