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Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT)

adial shockwave therapy (RSWT) is the use of short, intense energy waves travelling faster than the speed of sound. These energy waves stimulate the breakdown of scar tissue and fibroblasts. This process increases blood circulation and initiates metabolic activity, causing an inflammatory response that promotes and stimulates healing.

Over the past several years numerous articles and abstracts have been published regarding the effectiveness of RST. Shockwave is clinically proven to have success rates of 91 per cent for calcific tendonitis, 90 percent for plantar fasciitis and 77 percent for tennis elbow.

What Conditions Can Be Treated?

Shockwave Therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions, in particular, those involving areas where major connective tissue attaches to bone. Common sites that can be successfully treated are:

  • Foot: Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs & Achilles tendonitis
  • Knee: Patellar tendonitis, jumper's knee & shin pain
  • Elbow: Tennis or golfer's elbow
  • Shoulder: Rotator cuff tendonitis & calcification
  • Hip: Trochanteric bursitis
  • Muscles: Various trigger points throughout the body and muscle tension
  • Bones: Stress fractures, non unions (delayed bone healing)
  • Nerves: Morton's Neuroma

What are the Contraindications and Side Effects of this Treatment?

  • Bleeding conditions
  • Pacemakers
  • Medications that prolong blood clotting
  • Open growth plates (children)
  • Pregnancy
  • Acute injuries

Side effects usually come and go within 3 to 5 days. Mild side effects may include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Hematoma
  • Petechiae (red spots)

How does shockwave work?

Shockwaves accelerate the healing process by activating the body's self-healing powers, particularly in cases where the body has been unable to do it on its own. It stimulates metabolism and enhances blood circulation which enables damaged tissue to regenerate and eventually heal. The treatment relieves pain by producing an analgesic effect on the treatment area. Healing occurs over several treatments by initiating an inflammatory response and ultimately vascularization to the area. The high energy acoustic waves that are transmitted through the surface of the skin are spread radially (spherically) into the body and the body responds with increased metabolic activity around the area of the pain. This stimulates and accelerates the healing process and is especially useful for those suffering from chronic heel, shoulder, knee, achilles, elbow and back pain.

Your therapist will apply shockwaves through a specially designed hand piece that produces strong pneumatic energy pulses for short periods of time. The shockwave energy pulses are applied directly to the affected tissue areas in a controlled procedure.

Shockwaves have a mechanical effect on the tissue. Pressure in the front of the shockwave is transmitted into the tissue, creating micro-cavitation bubbles that expand and burst into a resultant force. This force penetrates tissue and stimulates cells in the body which are responsible for bone (osteoblast) and connective tissue (fibroblast) healing. Research has also shown that Shockwave also breaks down calcium deposits.

What is the success rate?

  • After only 2-3 sessions, over 80% of patients report a significant reduction in pain.
  • 90% improvement for plantar fasciitis (Journal of Orthopedic Research, 2005)
  • 91% improvement for calcific tendonitis (Journal of American Medical Association, 2003)
  • 77% improvement for tennis elbow (Journal of Orthopedics, 2005)

How Long Does Treatment Last?

The therapy session takes about 20-30 minutes depending on the disorder that is treated. In general, 1 session per week over 5-7 weeks are necessary.