About Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (SWT)
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (SWT) is a modality used for the treatment of a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, primarily applied to chronic conditions, particularly those affecting medium to large sized tendons and their insertions on bone such as:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles Tendonopathy
- Retrocalcaneal Bursitis
- Lateral Epicondylosis (Tennis Elbow)
- Medial Epicondylosis (Golfer’s Elbow)
- Calcific Tendonitis (supraspinatus tendon, etc.)
- Patellar Tendinosis (Jumper’s Knee)
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Chronic Stress/Non-union Fractures
SWT is an intervention that stimulates the body’s natural healing process. Additionally, SWT has been shown to have a direct effect on local nerve endings resulting in a decrease in pain.
Mechanical pressure and tension forces on the tissue which has been shown to increase cell membrane permeability thereby increasing microscopic circulation and therefore the metabolism within the treated area. This promotes healing and may result in the dissolution of calcific deposits.
The pressure front creates behind it a “cavitation bubble” which are small empty cavities created behind a pressure front. When the bubbles collapse they create a resultant force that has a mechanical impact on the treated tissue. This force helps to break down calcific deposits embedded in damaged tissue.
Shockwaves stimulate osteoblasts that are cells responsible for bone healing and new bone production.
Shockwaves stimulate fibroblasts that are cells responsible for healing of connective tissue such as tendons.
Diminishes pain by two mechanisms. Hyperstimulation anesthesia – local nerve endings are overwhelmed with so many stimuli that their activity diminishes resulting in short-term reduction in pain. Gate-control mechanism – whereby local nerves are stimulated to recalibrate perception of pain and result in longer-term reduction in pain.