Strengthening and Healing Benefits of Shockwave Therapy
Foot and leg problems such as heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis affect as many as 48% of Australians today. When these conditions develop, simple everyday activities such as walking around a supermarket, getting in and out of the car, and even moving around at home can become painful trials of Olympian proportions.
Fortunately there’s a safe, non-surgical treatment available that can help reduce pain and promote healing of these chronic conditions. That treatment is called shockwave therapy, and in this article we’ll discuss how it works and what to expect in a shockwave therapy session.
What is shockwave therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a multidisciplinary treatment used in sports medicine, physiotherapy, urology, podiatry and even veterinary medicine. It has been used since the 1960s to treat a wide range of conditions, offering pain relief and mobility restoration, especially in patients with chronic pain.
How does shockwave therapy work?
The name ‘shockwave therapy’ sounds rather futuristic, and for good reason. The treatment uses high energy acoustic (sound) waves to deliver a mechanical force to the body’s tissues. The shock from this force stimulates tissue and cell regeneration, kick-starts new collagen production, increases blood circulation, and breaks down calcium deposits. This in turn reduces pain and accelerates healing.
Despite its rather fierce name, the treatment itself is simple, fast, and safe.
What conditions can shockwave therapy treat?
Shockwave therapy can help in the recovery of many painful foot conditions. These include:
- Muscle pain, strain or injury
- Heel spurs
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Patellar tendonitis
- Shin splints and tightened calves
If you are suffering from any of the above conditions, Melbourne Podiatrist’s Brunswick and Sandringham Foot Clinics can help diagnose and treat the problem. Click this link for more information.
What can I expect in a shockwave therapy session?
During shockwave treatment, a gel is applied to the problematic area to enhance conduction, and then a non-invasive probe is placed on the skin. This probe emits an electrical charge of high or low energy waves (depending on your treatment plan), transmitting them deeply into the injured area. If high energy waves are being used, a local anaesthetic may be used to keep you comfortable.
As the probe is moved around the problematic area, you will feel pressure and a vibration which most patients become used to quickly. The procedure itself takes approximately 5 minutes per area (if you have more than one treatment location – such as both of your feet – the treatment will take a further 5 minutes per site).
Many patients experience an immediate reduction in pain within the treated area/s but may experience some discomfort for 2-4 hours afterward.
Depending on your particular situation, the frequency and length of your sessions may vary. Your podiatrist will provide you with a thorough plan after an assessment of your condition. However, the average number of treatments required is 3 over a course of 3 weeks.
While shockwave therapy can be used for a wide range of conditions, it is not recommended for people with nerve disorders, infections or open wounds, heart conditions, or pregnant women.
Where to get further advice
If you’re suffering from chronic foot or leg pain, book an assessment with one of our podiatrists to see if you could benefit from shockwave therapy. Our practitioners will assess your condition and recommend an appropriate course of action tailored to your needs.