Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy treatment is a highly effective treatment available for patients with chronic tendon and soft tissue disorders. This is a very successful treatment and can be used in conjunction with other treatments such as orthotic inserts and appropriate physiotherapy.
Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical treatment, and works by delivering impulses of energy, targeted to specific damaged tissues. This increases the blood flow within the affected area, stimulating cell regeneration and healing, and decreasing local factors which can cause pain.
How does shockwave therapy work?
A probe is pressed on to the affected area and the shockwaves are delivered through the skin (a gel like substance is also applied to the area to promote the process).
The impulses are delivered through the skin as a shockwave that spreads inside the injured tissue as a radial wave. These radial shockwaves initiate an inflammation-like response in the injured tissue that is being treated, and prompts the body to respond naturally by increasing blood circulation, the number of blood vessels and therefore metabolism in the injured tissue.
The shockwaves are felt as pulses which can be uncomfortable but not too painful. The treatment was originally used as a treatment for kidney stones, and has been re-developed for the use in treating tendon and other soft tissue conditions.
Patients are treated in an outpatient environment and the procedure does not require any type of sedation or anaesthetic.
Conditions recommended for treatment with shockwave therapy:
Achilles tendon injuries
Is shockwave therapy treatment covered by private medical insurance?
As shock-wave therapy is recommended by NICE most private medical insurers will cover such treatment. However, it is essential that patients consult their insurance companies prior to starting treatment. Self-funding packages are available.
What happens prior to shockwave therapy?
A clinical assessment by your podiatric surgeon is required to ensure that the diagnosis is correct and that shockwave therapy treatment is the most appropriate for your condition. This assessment may involve the need for diagnostic ultrasound or MRI scan.
What can I expect after my shockwave treatment?
Many patients experience an improvement in symptoms almost immediately while others take several weeks to respond. There may be a transient reddening or swelling of the area with some patients experiencing a brief increase in pain. It may take several weeks or months to see an overall benefit. It is suggested that your podiatric surgeon reviews you at 12 weeks to assess your overall progress.
The Assert Protocol
The Assert Protocol is a multi-centre project throughout the UK whose objective is to provide a consistent and robust platform to enable accurate scientific evaluation of the clinical effectiveness of shockwave therapy for the management of soft tissue injuries. Mr Yates is an approved centre for the Assert protocol. This protocol is designed to be a simple and efficient method to record the clinical outcomes of shockwave therapy and comply with the NICE guidance. Patients at BMI Ridgeway will be given the opportunity to become part of this optional study.