What is Shock Wave Therapy?
Shock wave therapy is a new type of treatment for plantar fascitis, Achilles tendonitis, tennis elbow, and patellar tendonitis. It was originally developed by Dornier MedTech for the treatment of kidney stones. It was later found that this form of treatment worked in the treatment of soft tissue injuries and bone injuries.
The therapy is called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy. This treatment works best on chronic conditions that do not respond to conservative therapy. The theory behind this form of treatment is as follows:
- Sound waves stimulate fibroblasts and tenocyte production. These are the normal healing cells for muscles, tendons, and fascia.
- ESWT over-stimulates the nerves that send pain sensations, therefore diminishing pain sensations to the brain.
- The procedure may break down pathologic calcifications as a by product. However the goal of the procedure is to treat the condition that caused the spur, not the spur itself.
ESWT has been shown to be highly effective. It is FDA approved. Various studies have shown that ESWT treatment has reduced pain in 75-90% of cases. That is very impressive when you consider the risks of ESWT compared to surgical correction for plantar fascitis or Achilles tendonitis. Patients come in to our office to have this procedure performed and they put their shoe on to go home after the half hour long procedure. Most patients return to work the very next day.