Shock Wave Therapy

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is a non-invasive treatment procedure that uses high-energy shock waves to deliver a mechanical force to injured body tissues triggering the healing process.

Indication

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is used to treat painful musculoskeletal conditions such as:

Contraindication

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is contraindicated in patients with:

  • Poor sensation (neuropathy)
  • Target area hypersensitivity
  • Open sores
  • Heart conditions
  • Pregnancy

Procedure

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy can be performed as an outpatient procedure. A gel is applied on the skin to improve the conduction of shock waves to the deeper tissues. A non-invasive probe is then placed on the target area. The shock waves are then transmitted through the probe to the body tissues. They may be high energy or low energy shock waves. High energy waves can cause pain and a local anaesthetic is usually administered prior to probe application. For low energy waves, no anaesthetic is necessary. The patient can actively participate during the procedure by guiding the placement of the probe to the point of the pain. More than one treatment session may be required to produce relief of symptoms.

Post-procedure restrictions

Patients are usually allowed to bear weight following the procedure; however, they are advised to reduce their activity level for 1 or 2 weeks.

Benefits

Patients generally get good relief from longstanding tendon problems or degenerative conditions such as Achilles tendon and plantar fasciitis. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy can also be used to delay or avoid surgery.

Complications

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is a very safe, non-invasive procedure; however, on rare occasions there may be pain and swelling at the treatment site. There may also be persistence of symptoms if the treatment is unsuccessful.

  • Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Fellow of the Australian Orthopaedic Association
  • Australian Medical Association
  • Royal North Shore Hospital
  • British Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
  • American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
  • Australian Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society