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Shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), is a non-invasive medical treatment that uses acoustic waves to treat various musculoskeletal conditions, including tendinopathies, plantar fasciitis, and calcific shoulder tendinopathy. The therapy involves the application of shockwaves to injured tissues in the body, promoting healing and reducing pain.

How it Works:

  1. Generation of Shockwaves: A device generates high-energy acoustic waves.
  2. Application: These waves are transmitted through the skin to the affected area.
  3. Therapeutic Effects:
    • Increased Blood Flow: The shockwaves stimulate blood flow, enhancing nutrient and oxygen delivery to the injured tissues.
    • Cellular Repair: They can stimulate cellular activity and tissue regeneration.
    • Pain Reduction: Shockwaves can help to desensitize nerve endings and reduce chronic pain.
    • Breakdown of Calcifications: In conditions like calcific tendinopathy, the shockwaves can break down calcium deposits.

Conditions Treated:

  • Plantar Fasciitis: Pain and inflammation of the thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that runs across the bottom of the foot.
  • Achilles Tendinopathy: Chronic pain and swelling in the Achilles tendon.
  • Tennis Elbow: Pain and inflammation around the elbow joint.
  • Calcific Shoulder Tendinopathy: Calcium deposits in the shoulder tendons causing pain and limited movement.
  • Patellar Tendinopathy (Jumper’s Knee): Pain and inflammation of the patellar tendon.

Procedure:

  • Assessment: A healthcare provider evaluates the patient’s condition to determine if shockwave therapy is appropriate.
  • Application: The provider applies a gel to the skin over the treatment area to facilitate the transmission of shockwaves. A handheld device is then used to deliver the shockwaves.
  • Duration: Each session typically lasts about 15-20 minutes.
  • Frequency: Treatment usually involves multiple sessions, often spaced a week apart.

Benefits:

  • Non-invasive: No need for surgery or injections.
  • Minimal Recovery Time: Patients can often resume normal activities shortly after treatment.
  • Effectiveness: Many patients experience significant pain relief and improved function.
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