Shockwave Therapy

What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave Therapy JT PhysiotherapyShockwave Therapy is a series of energetic shockwaves applied to the area that needs treatment – it is a purely mechanical wave, not an electric one.  The shockwave is delivered to the tissue via a compressed air impulse exerted by the hand piece and radiates out extending to the entire area where pain occurs.   Treatment initiates an inflammation like condition in the tissue being treated.  The body responds by increasing the blood circulation and metabolism in the impact area which in turn accelerates the body’s own healing processes.  The tissue begins to behave normally becoming pain free and mobile.


Why is it beneficial?

Shockwave Therapy is non-invasive, no surgery or other treatments such as X-Ray etc. are required and treatment can usually start right away.  No anaesthetic is required and you can continue usual activities after treatment (it is recommended to avoid pain provoking exercise for 48hrs following treatment). One of the strongest arguments for the use of shockwave in therapy is that it effectively takes a tissue from a more chronic to a more acute state, and in doing so, provides a stimulus/trigger to a ‘stalled’ repair sequence .

Shockwave Therapy provides the following benefits:

  • Mechanical stimulation
  • Increased local blood flow
  • Increase in cellular activity
  • Transient analgesic effect on afferent nerves
  • Break down calcific deposits (primarily, but not exclusively in tendon)

When should it be considered as a treatment?

Shockwave Therapy


Shockwave Therapy is a highly effective treatment of many muscle, joint and bone conditions including, but not limited to, Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendinopathy, Patellar Tendinopathy, Tennis Elbow, Supraspinatus Tendinopathy, Biceps Tendinopathy, Calcific Tendinitis of the Shoulder, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Carpal Tunnel and Back Pain.  Shockwave therapy can reduce healing times and pain in the above conditions. 

It has been shown also to be very successful in chronic conditions (longer than 6 months duration) and sometimes when other treatment options have failed.


Who performs the treatment?

At JT Physiotherapy and Reformer Pilates all of our Chartered Physiotherapists are trained on the most up to date Shockwave Therapy equipment. The treatment itself will only last approximately 10-15 minutes, your full appointment will be approx 1 hour for your initial appointment and approx 30 minutes for any follow up appointments thereafter.  This allows our Physiotherapists time for a thorough assessment of the patient.  Your Shockwave Treatment will always be accompanied by exercise prescription.

Are there any side effects?

You may experience some redness of the skin, mild swelling, slight pain or bruising, which will subside with 24 hours of the treatment.  Most people will experience no side effects.

Can everyone have Shockwave Therapy?

No. There are certain patient groups who cannot safely have the treatment so it is important that our Physiotherapists know all of the relevant medical information.  It is not recommended for use on pregnant women, hemophilia, tumors, or over infected sites.

Scientific Research in Shockwave Therapy

Research in Shockwave Therapy has shown:

  • A 70-85% chance that Shockwave Therapy will improve the aforementioned conditions, even where previous conservative techniques or treatment has failed.
  • Statistically and clinically significant improvements in 78.38% of tendons treated at least 1 year after treatment, for patients with Achilles tendinopathy.
  • A success rate of improving overall pain by up to 92.5% in patients with Plantar Fasciitis
  • 80% of patients with Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy were able to return to their preinjury professional level of sports activity, 3 months after the end of treatment. None of these patients have had any reinjury during the 12-month follow-up period.
  • SWT is safe and effective up to 12 months from the last application, and provides significantly better results than current conservative care.
  • 75% of patients with Osgood-Schlatter disease became free of symptoms following treatment.
  • Percentage of satisfied patients with lateral epicondylitis in a study group was 87% post-treatment; 84% at follow-up, compared to 10% and 3% in the control group.
  • Calcifications disappeared completely in 86.6% of patients with radiographically verified calcific tendinitis of the shoulder.

More Information

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