Shock wave therapy (SWT) is a therapeutic device designed to increase the growth of new blood vessels. The added circulation will promote tissue healing in the injured site. SWT sends high-pressure sound waves into the tissues in pulses. Physicians and physiotherpapists recommend SWT in the treatment of calcific tendonitis, chronic tendonitis in the elbow, shoulder or achilles tendon. It is been used in the treatment of plantar fasciitis in the arch of the foot.
Patient Information on ESWT
What is ESWT?
Acoustic pulses introduced to local area of the body with a hand held hydraulic applicator.
ESWT improves blood circulation in the area treated. This stimulates the metabolism into areas of poor or decreased circulation/blood supply, with the goal of healing the underlying tissues and resolving pain.
ESWT provides a long term, pain relieving effect over pain area.
Indications for ESWT
- Plantar Fasciitis (with or without heel spur)
- Calcific Tendonitis
- Chronic Tendonitis
- Achilles Tendinosis
Contraindications (reasons why ESWT should NOT be used)
- Coagulation disorders i.e. Hemophilia
- Anticoagulant use i.e. Marcumar
- Tumor disease, Carcinomas
- Acute inflammations
- Growing children
- Cortisone injections less than 6 weeks prior to first ESWT treatment
Potential Side Effects
- Hematomas (bruising)
- Skin lesions after previous cortisone therapy
Side effects last for approximately 3-7 days after treatment.
CAUTION: Only light activities and training should be performed immediately after treatment(s).
- Sensation varies from pain, numbness or no pain during treatment
- Treatment is focused on the point of maximal tenderness.
- 3-5 treatments with 5-7 days between treatment gives optimal healing
Once treatments (3-5) are completed there are up to 12 weeks of further healing that can occur. Therefore some patients may not notice a significant change in symptoms until the 3-5 treatments are completed.
Since the purpose of ESWT is to increase circulation to the painful area, it is recommended that heat be applied to that area rather than ice in MOST cases. Check with your health care professional before applying heat or ice.