What is Shock wave therapy?
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is the name given to a treatment which involves shockwaves being passed through the skin to the injured part of the body. ESWT has been reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA.
How does the treatment work?
We use the Swiss DolorClast device which generates shockwaves by a projectile that is propelled at high speed inside a hand-held applicator. When the applicator is placed on the surface of the skin – together with a ‘coupling medium’ such as ultrasound gel – the impulses are delivered as a shockwave that spreads through the tissue as an aspherical ‘radial’ wave.
Passing radial shockwaves through the surface of the skin with the Swiss DolorClast initiates an inflammation-like response in the injured tissue that is being treated. This prompts the body to respond naturally by increasing blood circulation, the number of blood vessels and therefore metabolism in the injured tissue. This accelerates the body’s natural healing process by increasing cell generation.
What are the benefits?
- No need for anaestheticNon-invasive procedure
- No need for surgery or medication
- Treatment sessions last for an average of only 15 minutes
- No hospital admission
- Transient analgesic effect after treatment
- No lengthy rehabilitation, loss of mobility or time away from work
- Fewer complications
- Strong clinical results
What conditions can be treated?
In the foot / ankle, NICE have recognised the use of shockwave therapy for:
Plantar heel pain
- Plantar fasciitis
Posterior heel pain
- insertional Achilles tendonopathy / posterior heel spur
- Achilles tendonopathy
However, it has also been successfully used for shin pain (shin splints / medial tibial stress syndrome) and there is some emerging evidence for its potential use on stress fractures.
How successful is the treatment?
Clinical trials, conducted by some of the world’s leading medical professionals, have shown the Swiss DolorClast to be successful in treating the conditions recognised by NICE.
We have had some extremely good results with this treatment and contribute our patient outcomes to a national database which will provide more evidence eon outcomes. However, as with all treatments, this is not a fix all for every patient. Our experience suggests that it tends to work better in patients who have implemented the common / standard treatments for the condition and then use this treatment to effectively kick start the healing process.
How do I book treatment?
You will need a consultation to confirm the diagnosis and be assessed for your suitability for the treatment and any appropriate investigations. A course of treatment, generally once per week for three weeks is required. The effects of the treatment seem to increase over time and the outcome is assessed at 12 weeks following the last treatment.