Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a method used to treat musculoskeletal conditions such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. ESWT uses high-energy shockwave impulses to stimulate the healing process in damaged tendon tissue. These impulses are targeted directly at the area that is causing pain. ESWT is often used as a treatment for patients with chronic pain who do not want to undergo surgery.
Benefits of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is considered a safe and effective alternative to invasive surgical procedures. It typically takes fewer than 30 minutes to perform, and there are few-to-no side-effects. Most patients experience significant pain relief following treatment and, as time passes, pain continues to subside.
The Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy Procedure
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is performed as an outpatient procedure. A device is directed at the injured area, and intense waves of energy are delivered through the skin to induce microtrauma, and stimulate the healing process. Shockwave therapy can be delivered in both high-energy and low-energy forms. High-energy treatments are performed in one session, but may cause some discomfort, so a local anesthetic is often used. Low-energy treatments are administered during a course of three or more sessions; they cause little-to-no pain, so a local anesthetic is typically not necessary. Some patients have soreness, swelling or bruising post-treatment.
As the area heals and damaged tissue cells rebuild, improvement is often noticed within a few days. As the healing process continues, most patients continue to experience pain relief. Full recovery may take several weeks.