What Is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave is a non-invasive, simple and effective solution to pain in the feet, legs and back. It has quickly grown to be one of our most popular services at My FootDr due to its ability to help relieve pain and repair injury, even when the problem has been persisting for years.
Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
Yes, shockwave has proven to be effective in various clinical studies in helping with a range of lower limb problems, especially long-standing Achilles pain and plantar fasciitis. Pain reduction as great as 72% has been seen. We attain great results using shockwave with our patients, and some conditions do respond better to shockwave than others. Your podiatrist will advise you if shockwave will likely be beneficial for your pain or injury.
What Can Shockwave Therapy Treat?
Your My FootDr podiatrist will let you know if shockwave can help you after they’ve understood the extent of your pain or problem at your assessment. Shockwave is best suited for pain that has been present for six weeks and longer (‘chronic’ pain). Generally speaking, we use shockwave to help treat:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome)
- Knee pain (patellar tendonitis)
- Iliotibial band pain (outside of the upper leg)
- Painful trigger points
- Calcifications at the tendons
- Back pain
- Ligament and tendon injuries
- Musculoskeletal disorders of the feet and lower limbs
How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
The shockwave handle-piece is placed on the surface of your skin, around the area of the injury where we also apply some gel. High-energy acoustic wave pulses are emitted that reach the injured area beneath, which leads to a cascade of beneficial effects including helping to:
- Reduce pain
- Reduce and reverse inflammation
- Stimulate new blood vessels formation, thereby promoting healing
- Stimulate collagen production
- Dissolve calcium build-ups
- Release trigger points
Generally, the effects of shockwave help facilitate the body’s healing and repair process, create an optimal biological healing environment, and often ‘reboot’ the reparative process for those that have had pain or problems for years.
As the injured area is repaired, healthy function is restored and pain is relieved over the long term.
Benefits Of Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave has quickly gained popularity among our patients because it:
- Is non-invasive – it does not penetrate the skin
- Does not require anaesthesia or any medications
- Can eliminate the need for surgery
- Only takes 10-20 minutes to complete the treatments
- Only requires 3-4 sessions on average, spaced at one week apart
- Stimulates the body to repair itself using its natural processes, as opposed to introducing an inorganic substance into the body
Does Shockwave Therapy Hurt?
You have nothing to be afraid of with shockwave – it really is a simple and easy treatment that is carried out by our qualified and experienced podiatry team. You may experience mild tenderness for the ten or so minutes that the shockwave is being applied, just like when someone is pressing against a bruise or sore spot.
As the benefits of shockwave begin from the first treatment, we expect that your pain and symptoms (both during the treatment and afterwards) will continue to decrease week after week. We are able to stop the treatment at any time and adjust the settings to help you feel comfortable throughout each session.
How many sessions are needed for shockwave therapy?
The number of treatments you require will depend on the severity of your injury and the area affected. Your podiatrist will give you a better estimate after your assessment, but generally, this is between 3-6 sessions of shockwave. For best results, our sessions are spaced approximately one week apart.
What does shockwave therapy feel like?
Shockwave is best described as a strong, deep and rhythmic vibration. It is generally painless, though when applied over a painful area, there may be some discomfort. This is usually a mild tenderness, like when someone is pressing against a bruise or sore spot.
Does shockwave therapy work for heel pain?
Yes, heel pain including plantar fasciitis and Achilles pain are the most common problems that we use shockwave on. It has proven in many clinical studies to both reduce pain while improving and restoring function. Moreover, it allows a person to remain active and on their feet throughout the course of the treatment.
Is shockwave therapy safe?
Yes, shockwave therapy is both FDA and TGA approved and is considered safe, especially compared with alternatives like surgery. As it is non-invasive, meaning it doesn’t breach the skin, there is no risk of infection.
There are some cases where we won’t use shockwave for an abundance of caution. This is on those aged under 18, those taking anticoagulants, those with a pacemaker, those with nerve or circulation disorders, anyone with a current infection, and anyone with a malignant tumour. We will also not use shockwave if you have had a cortisone injection to the area within the last 6 weeks.
Your podiatrist will always assess your suitability for shockwave before recommending it as part of your care.
How long does a session of shockwave take?
Shockwave therapy is a 20 – 30-minute appointment, and the number of shockwaves delivered, their frequency and the intensity of them will be determined by your podiatrist based on their professional assessment.
Are there any side effects of shockwave?
Many people feel a numbing sensation or immediate pain reduction following the treatment. Others may feel some tingling or aching. Occasionally, there may be some minor bruising.