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Does Shockwave Therapy Work?

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy has become hugely popular in recent times, and for good reason. Shock wave therapy has proven to be an effective treatment of Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis, providing relief from pain. If you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles Tendonitis, you’re likely familiar with the agonizing heel pain that comes along with these foot problems.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy is a non-invasive, FDA-cleared treatment that uses sound waves to stimulate healing of the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes, and the Achilles tendon is the large tendon that attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone. These areas of your foot can become strained and overworked, leading to painful inflammation and heel pain. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for both Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis, providing relief from pain and helping you get back on your feet.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy does work

Plantar Fasciitis – if common treatments such as orthoses, steroid injections or ice therapy do not effectively relieve your foot pain, it may be time to consider shockwave therapy. ESWT is very effective in treating long term conditions and is also a minimally invasive treatment.

Achilles Tendinitis - is a condition that can causes pain at the back of the leg near the heel. Thought to be caused by small, repeated injuries to the achilles tendon that don’t heal properly, this condition can make walking and running painful and uncomfortable.

Steroid injections, rest, orthoses and physiotherapy are some of the common ways of treating this condition. Shockwave Therapy may be a consideration if these conservative treatments have not worked for you. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy works by use of acoustic shockwaves delivered to the injured tissue areas using a hand piece.

These shockwaves help active self-healing mechanisms by stimulating an inflammatory response. This promotes the healing process to start. Sometimes new blood vessels are formed which increases blood circulation the injured tissue.

We offer SWT to patients who have not responded well to alternative treatments. Since this treatment is minimally invasive, it is performed on an outpatient basis. This allows you to go home on the same day! If you do experience any discomfort during this treatment, over-the- counter pain killers are usually all that you need to reduce these symptoms.

Our experienced professionals will perform a full assessment to see if this is a good option for you. This may include film of you walking to see if your joints align and also to assess how you walk. You may be referred to an MRI or Ultrasound scan.

If you are looking for relief from pain caused by foot problems and want to effectively treat your foot ailments, book an appointment with our foot pain specialists.

What Conditions Can Shockwave Therapy Treat?

If you suffer from an injury or condition that affects your foot or ankle, you know this can be very painful. It makes you uncomfortable and also severely impacts your activities. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, or ESWT, has become hugely popular in recent years as a non-invasive alternative to surgery or medication for treating a variety of conditions, including foot and ankle injuries and conditions.

ESWT uses high-energy shockwaves to produce the desired effects, and has been shown to be effective in stimulating the body's natural healing process and accelerating the healing of soft tissue injuries by boosting circulation. It also has a positive effect on nerve endings by overstimulating them and thus relieving chronic pain. In addition, ESWT is non-addictive and has very few side effects, making it an appealing treatment option for many people.

There are a number of orthopedic conditions currently being treated by shockwave therapy, including:

Tennis elbow

Golfer’s elbow

Jumper’s knee


Plantar fasciitis

Achilles tendonopathy

Retrocalcaneal bursitis

Morton’s neuroma

Non-union stress fractures

For shockwave therapy to work, high-energy waves or pulses need to be focused on the affected tissue. For instance, if you are suffering from heel pain due to plantar fasciitis, the device will be directed at the heel. Additionally, calcific deposits, such as bone spurs, may be dissolved by the high energy waves.

Extracorporeal Shockwave has many other benefits including stimulation of osteoblast. These are cells needed to produce new bones and bone healing. Stimulated fibroblasts are also needed to heal injuries of the connective tissues. In addition to the well-known benefits of stimulating osteoblasts and fibroblasts, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy also provides pain relief by overwhelming the nerve endings in the affected area. By recalibrating the way these nerves perceive pain, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy can provide significant relief for those suffering from chronic pain conditions. With so many benefits, it's no wonder Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy has become such a popular treatment option.

To get the maximum benefits of shockwave therapy, make sure you receive high energy shockwaves, rather than low energy. Low energy shockwaves are not able to break the sound barrier and produce the maximum results. Shockwave therapy is almost always used with other treatments such as physical therapy and the use of custom orthotics. You will get the best results when shockwave therapy is used in conjunction with other treatments and rehab plans.

If you are troubled by foot and ankle pain because of injury and have not been able to relieve the pain, our highly skilled foot and ankle doctors can help. Shockwave therapy is one option among many to help patients who suffer from orthopedic injuries or conditions.

If you are experiencing foot and ankle pain and have been unable to find relief from pain, call our highly skilled foot and ankle doctors. Performance Care Sports Medicine offer a variety of treatments for patients who suffer from orthopedic injuries or conditions, including shockwave therapy.

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