Shockwave therapy is an acoustic wave treatment and is mainly used to treat long-standing tendon pain in the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, heel and sole of the foot. Our shockwave machine uses radial shockwave (a mechanical, not electrical wave). The mainstay of treatment of tendon injuries is a strengthening programme so the shockwave is not a stand-alone treatment but helps to reduce the pain so that you can both start and progress your exercises more easily. In some cases (particularly plantar fasciitis and hip tendon pain), it may be used at the start of a treatment programme. In other cases, we would start on a strengthening programme and if the progress was not satisfactory, we would use the shockwave at that stage. Shockwave can also be used for some joint issues.
There are minimal side effects to the treatment (transient redness, small bruise and transient increase in pain) and it can give an immediate reduction in pain. The treatment itself only takes a few minutes and is usually 3-4 sessions given one week apart. The treatment itself can be a little painful but it should be no more than 5 or 5 out of 10 on a pain scale and only lasts a couple of minutes. We can adjust the settings to reduce any pain if necessary.
Contra-indications to be aware of:
- Having had a cortisone (steroid) injection in the 6 weeks prior to shockwave
- Having a clotting disorder such as haemophilia or if you are on Warfarin or another anti-coagulant
- Cardiac pacemaker
- Pregnancy – please discuss with your physiotherapist
- Acute infection in the area
Please contact us prior to your shockwave appointment if any of the above applies and we are not aware of them.
You are advised not to use anti-inflammatories or an ice pack for 48 hours after treatment.
Paracetamol is permitted if you require some pain relief. It is advisable to avoid the activity that aggravates the condition for 24 hours after the treatment.