What is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)?

Shockwave therapy has been used for treatment of musculoskeletal conditions since the early 1990s. Originating from a urology procedure called lithotripsy (used to treat kidney stones), it is a safe and non- invasive therapy.

Shockwave therapy has shown evidence in promoting pain relief and also tendon remodelling and regeneration.

What is involved?

Radial shockwaves are transmitted to the site of injury via a hand-piece held by the clinician. Treatment over the area of injury may cause some initial discomfort. It is not uncommon for patients to develop numbness or heaviness in this area at the time of treatment.

Each treatment will take a duration of approximately 10 minutes and 2000-3000 pulsed shockwaves will be administered to the area of concern.  Patients typically need 3-5 treatments though improvement can be achieved after a single treatment.

Contraindications

Whilst very safe, shockwave therapy is contraindicated in the following conditions:

  • Pregnancy
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Warfarin therapy
  • Tumors
  • Local inflammation/wound

Evidence

Scientific research supports the use of shockwave therapy in the treatment of tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis and other conditions. Evidence suggests that up to 80% of patients with appropriate injuries will improve with shockwave therapy.

 Cost

The out-of-pocket expense of a single shockwave treatment is $75. This is not covered by private health insurance or medicare. 

Who at Lifecare performs ESWT?

  • Podiatrist (Matthew Appleton, Rick Osler and Emma Poynton)
  • Physiotherapist (Josh Banky)
  • Sport & Exercise Physician (Dr. Gary Zimmerman)

Research Articles

  • Rompe et al (2008) Eccentric Loading Compared with Shock Wave Treatment for Chronic Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 90:52-61
  • Han et al (2009) Effect of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy on Cultured Tenocytes, Foot and Ankle International. 30:93-98
  • Furia et al (2007) Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy in the Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinopathy. Current Opin Orthop, 18:101-111