The last 15 months have been a real game-changer for us here at South Burnett Podiatry. And it’s all thanks to Shockwave treatment, which is otherwise known as Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Therapy or Radial Pressure Wave Therapy. Whatever you want to call it - it has drastically changed the way we treat injuries and the rate at which our patients recover - and we couldn’t be happier.
Now, you may be surprised to learn that shockwave isn’t a brand new technology. In fact, shockwave was originally used to break down kidney stones in hospital decades ago. What’s interesting, however, is that as a side effect, it actually accelerated healing in the areas that it was being used on. And so - shockwave for injury rehabilitation began.
So, What Is Shockwave?
Shockwave uses single acoustic pressure waves to treat musculoskeletal and dermatological problems and pains in the lower limb. In case that doesn’t mean anything to you, picture this - and handle piece that is attached to the shockwave machine is placed against the affected site. During a 2-3 minute period when it is in contact with the skin, it emits quick pulses set at a certain acoustic frequency to produce the healing and restorative effects.
And How Does It Work?
Shockwave works by accelerating both tissue and bone healing in the treated area, meaning you recover and get out of pain faster than traditional therapies alone. It:
Reduces pain - by creating an anaesthetic effect on the nerve fibres, shockwave helps to block pain signals and help you to feel better!
Stimulates revascularisation - helps to promote the development of new blood vessels to the area, meaning more blood flow and faster healing and recovery for tissues and bones alike!
Stimulates metabolic activity - it works on a cellular level to promote the release of substances that inhibit pain and inflammation, hence promoting healing and repair
We could get all scientific and talk about C-nerve fibres and substance-P, but the gist of it is this: cellular and metabolic reactions occur as a direct result of the shockwave treatment that are clinically proven to reduce pain and inflammation.
Other benefits of shockwave include:
- Fantastic for conditions that are normally difficult to treat
- Is clinically proven
- Has shown efficacy in both new and long-standing conditions
- It’s non-invasive
- No anaesthetic or medication is required
- Very few complications or adverse effects
- Has the potential to replace the need for surgery and steroid injections
- No additional pain is expected following the completion of each shockwave session
- Faster return to normal activity compared to surgical alternatives
What can Shockwave help with?
It’s been an absolute pleasure to have treated so many patients with various injuries using shockwave, from overuse injuries following running, osteoarthritic pain, to accidental injuries sustained in sports and everything in between. We recommend shockwave for:
- Heel pain - plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, calcifications of the Achilles tendon
- Knee pain - runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain), jumper’s knee (patellar tendinopathy)
- Leg pain - shin splints and calf pain
- Foot pain
- Fractures - non-union and delayed union
During your consultation, we’ll let you know if shockwave is suitable for your problem. Shockwave isn’t suitable for everyone. Particularly if you have any bleeding disorders, are pregnant, are taking certain medications, have a cancer diagnosis, and a few other situations.
What does a shockwave session look like?
Before we can commence the treatment, you must complete a biomechanical exam. We won’t carry out the treatment until we are confident that shockwave has the potential to help you, and that there are no contraindications for its use with you. After this, the fun will begin!
- We start by palpating around the target area, identifying our target spots for shockwave, and applying some ultrasound gel to these areas
- We then adjust the settings on the machine and place the handpiece against your skin. Don’t worry! We have full control over the machine and its settings - including the intensity of the waves that will be moving through your tissues. If you are feeling particularly tender or it's your first appointment, we can start the first round at a gentler setting so you can become familiar with what to expect from the treatment
- Compressed air moves through the handpiece which moves a bullet-like piece within the shockwave handle at a rapid rate. This causes the shockwaves to radiate out of the handpiece, through the gel and into the targeted area
- One round of shockwave lasts for approximately 60-180 seconds, depending on the recommended number of ‘pulses’ specific to your injury and treatment area. We completed 2-3 rounds per foot
- After the completion of the session, we finish any complementary therapies as per your management plan, for example strapping the foot
- You’re good to go! You continue to follow the management plan until your return in one week for your next shockwave round
- Depending on the severity of your problem, you may require as few as 3 sessions, or as many as 9 sessions of shockwave
Don’t worry - we expect to see a reduction in your pain in symptoms every week. If we don’t see these results and you’ve completely complied with the rest of your specific management plan, we won’t continue with the treatment and will re-assess the best way forward clinically for your recovery.
To book an appointment, just give our friendly team a call on (07) 4162 7633 - we’d love to help!