Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

What conditions may benefit from ESWT?

heelpainESWT is a special form of treatment, utilising the therapeutic, pain relieving and healing nature of sonic energy applied to tissues (similar to ultrasound waves), delivered in a short, strong pulse form.

Painful conditions can cause severely impact lifestyle and activity or may lead to daily suffering.  ESWT can be useful in the management of some such conditions.

Common painful conditions which may respond well to ESWT include:

  • Soft tissue injury (for example following a historic sprain)
  • Heel pain or arch pain (such as plantarfasciitis or plantarfasciosis)
  • Tendon Pain (such as Achilles tendinitis or tendinopathy)
  • Muscle pains (for example ‘tigger points’ of tenderness)
  • Painful attachment sites (for example enthesopathy or medial tibial stress syndrome)

What is it?

anklepainESWT stands for extra-corporeal shockwave therapy.  This uses pneumatic, mechanical or piezogenic technology to generate therapeutic energy pulses (hence ‘shock’ wave).  These are applied outside the body (hence ‘extra corporeal’), to generate a desired tissue response (hence ‘therapy’).

Some shockwave technology is used in medicine – this is called lithotripsy (using a focussed shockwave treatment to target and break up gallstones and kidney stones).

Chiropodists use ESWT machines therapeutically to target and treat soft tissue injury of the foot.   Depending on the delivery method this type of shockwave therapy is sometimes referred to as radial extracorporeal shockwave therapy (or RSWT and RESWT for short).

What does it involve?

During an appointment session the area to be treated is located, or the ‘site of maximal tenderness’ is identified.  A coupling gel, is applied to the foot and the ESWT handpiece is applied to the gel.  During treatment some pressure may be applied and the treatment will be adapted to you and your condition.  The treatment lasts a matter of minutes.

Typically a series of three treatment sessions are scheduled for most conditions.

Is it painful?

During ESWT we may hone in on tender areas, as these may be the poorly areas or injured areas requiring treatment.

Treating these areas can therefore be a little tender or uncomfortable during the therapy treatment.  The benefits of honing in on these target areas, initiates a cascade of physiological and pain relieving changes in the tissues to speed up recovery.

Does it work?

The energy pulse delivered from the ESWT machine are faster than sound and safely cause repetitive microscopic disturbances to the tissues.  These ‘shock’ waves help increase microscopic circulation and increases metabolism in the tissues. The treatment can also help break up the build-up of calcification within soft tissue.

Chiropodists can discuss the conservative and longer term treatments for soft tissue injury and other treatment options may also be appropriate. For those suffering with foot pain, then a chiropodist/foot specialist can help develop a plan and give advice. Following assessment chiropodists can discuss if a treatment plan with ESWT is appropriate.

Contact us today to book an appointment or to find out more about the foot treatments we offer.

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