Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

What is shockwave therapy?

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) delivers low-energy shockwaves to the tissue of the afflicted area of the body, inducing a microtrauma to the tissue and significantly improving pain, function, and quality of life for patients. This microtrauma triggers a healing response by the body, increasing blood vessel formation and the amount of nutrients to the affected area. ESWT is used to stimulate healing and relieve symptoms and is most commonly a solution for plantar fasciitis.

How does shockwave therapy work?

ESWT creates focused shockwaves via compressed that accelerates a projectile onto a metal applicator placed on the patient’s skin. The kinetic energy creates a radial shockwave that can penetrate into the body’s tissues to a depth of 4 or 5 cm. This has the effect of breaking down tissues to promote healing.

What conditions are treated with shockwave therapy?

ESWT can be used as a non-invasive solution for:

  • Heel Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Elbow Pain
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Tendinosis
  • Jumper’s Knee
  • Lateral Epicondylitis

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is used to treat a growing number of tendon, joint and muscle conditions. These include tennis elbow, where results in double blind studies are reported as excellent; chronic tendonitis of the knee and shoulder rotator cuff pain, achilles tendonitis, hamstring tendonitis and plantar fasciitis have also been treated successfully.

The above conditions are often difficult to treat using other methods and can become chronic. With ESWT patients report reduced pain and faster healing, without significant adverse side effects. However, the treatment has proven challenging to verify categorically in large controlled studies, in part because the therapist and patient are aware of whether or not they are in the treatment cohort or the sham cohort. ESWT is also used to promote bone healing and treat bone necrosis. It is an effective alternative to surgical treatment of non-healing fractures.

Is shockwave therapy covered by insurance?

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is not covered by insurance at this time.

How soon before I can get back to my normal routine after shockwave therapy?

For most patients, a day or two of recovery is all that is needed before they can resume normal activities.

Are there any side effects to shockwave therapy?

Side effects are mild and can include bruising, swelling, pain and numbness in the treated area.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact West Coast Orthopedics.

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