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Passing shockwaves through the skin to the injured part of the body
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-surgical procedure predominately used to treat conditions such as:
The shockwaves are generated by a projectile that is propelled at high speed inside a hand-held applicator. As the shockwaves enter the body, they initiate an inflammatory-like response in the injured tissue that is being treated.
This prompts the body to respond by increasing blood circulation, stimulating the body’s natural healing process and breaking down calcium deposits in tendons.
What makes ESWT unique is that it is one of the very few technologies that seems to work best when an injury reaches the chronic state.
ESWT appears to be able to jump start the healing process in chronic injuries and move them back into the acute phase of healing.
It is usually offered after other conservative treatments, such as physiotherapy, have failed to improve symptoms.
It may be necessary to continue Physiotherapy alongside the ESWT to get the best results. An assessment takes place before treatment is carried out to ensure it is appropriate.
It may be recommended to have an ultrasound scan or MRI Scan to determine the extent of your injury prior to commencing ESWT.
A course of ESWT usually requires three to four sessions, each taking about 30 minutes, which in addition to the ESWT, includes advice on retraining weak muscles related to the injury.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy or ESWT offers advantages over traditional surgical methods:
There is a very small risk of tendon or ligament rupture. All risks will be discussed in full with the consultant/physiotherapist prior to the procedure.
ESWT treatment is not normally suitable for patients who:
If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, you can take over-the-counter painkillers (however, you should not take any anti-inflammatory medications or apply ice as this can reduce the effects of the treatment).
You can return to your day-to-day activities immediately after treatment, but you should take it easy for 2-3 days following each treatment.
It is not uncommon for your pain to get a bit worse before it gets better during the course of treatment, this is because a healing response is being triggered.
It can take 3-4 months for the full benefit of the treatment to be felt. Your physiotherapist will advise when it is safe to return to sporting activities.
This is to ensure this is the most appropriate treatment for you.
ESWT costs £100 per session - this is based on a 30-minute appointment and includes your physiotherapy to help you get the best outcome from the treatment.
A course of treatment usually requires 3 - 4 sessions.