Extracorporeal shockwave therapy has proven to be effective in the treatment of many other common tendon conditions such as pain in the Achilles tendon, hamstrings and patella tendon. It is also used effectively to treat tennis elbow and pain in the tissues on the outside of the hip (trochanteric bursitis). It is particularly beneficial for a patient with painful, inflamed tendons around the shoulder which have then laid down calcification in the tissues. It is also very useful for treating a very common and painful condition plantar fasciitis (policeman’s heel).
The conditions for which it finds greatest benefit are those which are often resistant to other forms of treatment. Shockwave therapy has several advantages over the traditional treatment options. No anaesthetic is required, surgery and painful injections are avoided and it is non-invasive, meaning fewer complications. It also provides results where all other forms of treatment have failed.
The shockwave is a mechanical impulse which is delivered to the tissue by the surgeon through a small handheld device. Each treatment takes approximately five minutes and three sessions are usually sufficient at weekly intervals. Between treatments, the patient can continue their usual activities.
The shockwave works by triggering the formation of new blood vessels and stimulating the natural healing process. The shock wave can break down injured and calcified tissue and promote healing with healthy tissue. It can also lead to a decrease in the chemicals released by nerves that cause pain and inflammation.
Patients may feel an immediate effect but benefits are usually seen during the course of the treatment. Permanent results can be expected within six to eight weeks of the final treatment.