Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) FAQ

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What is Extra-Corporal Shock Wave Therapy?

Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Therapy is used at to treat tendon injuries and some other musculoskeletal pain. At movementLAB we’ve had success using this technology to treat;

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Achilles tendinopathy (tendinitis / tendinosus)

  • Tennis Elbow & Golfer’s Elbow (lateral epichonditis & medial epichonditis)

  • Greater trochanteric bursitis

  • Patellar tendinopathy

Why is it becoming so popular?

ESWT has been used for a number of years, but recently the technology has become more accessible. Unlike other treatments which inject directly into the painful area (such as cortisone and Platelet-Rich-Plasma), ESWT has many benefits:

  • Quick and easy

  • No downtime

  • Non-invasive

  • No infection risk

  • No anaesthesia required

  • Minimal discomfort

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What happens during a treatment?

  1. Your physio will locate the painful area and mark it.

  2. Ultrasound gel will be applied.

  3. Treatment will begin by directing the ESWT hand-piece at the affected area to deliver the acoustic shock wave impulses.

  4. There may be some discomfort, however treatment is well tolerated and your physio will modify the treatment level to suit your needs.

  5. Some patients note an immediate improvement in their pain, while others experience temporary sensitivity of the area.

  6. Patients are then reviewed approximately four weeks after the last treatment. The best results typically occur 12 weeks after the initial treatment.

    Time: 10-15 minutes per area

    Treatments required: 3 - 6 with a week between each treatment

    Side effects: Uncommon.

What conditions does it work for?

There is scientific evidence to show that:

  • It is as effective as 3 months of eccentric strengthening for Achilles tendinopathy (but requires a fraction of the time for a treatment to be completed versus the time to perform the tiresome and often painful exercises)

  • It is superior to eccentric strengthening and more 'traditional' rehabilitation techniques for insertional achilles tendinopathy

  • It is an effective treatment for plantar fasciitis and has been FDA approved for this condition

  • It is effective for the treatment of greater trochanteric bursitis

  • Can be used to treat tennis and golfers elbow (tendinopathy affecting the common extensor and flexor tendons at the elbow)



Is ESWT right for me?

If your injury has been long-standing (6 months or longer), and first line treatment has failed, you can make an appointment with one of our movementLAB physiotherapists to find out if ESWT is right for you. Your initial consultation will discuss expected outcomes and potential risks. However, there are some broad disqualifiers for treatment, such as:

  • recent corticosteroid injection (within the past 12 weeks)

  • pregnancy

  • malignancy

  • acute inflammation

  • diabetes

  • pacemakers, metalware or other implants

  • haemophilia or other coagulation issues.