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Is shockwave the right treatment for me?

Here at Southern Sports Podiatry, we see a lot of patients with stubborn painful heels and achilles, as well as many other tendon injuries, and offer a number of solutions to help our patients get back to walking, running or on the sports field as quickly as we can. The need for multiple treatment pathways though shows how complex some of these injuries can be, which can make it difficult to have one single treatment that will help every single person we see.

Although strengthening and/or managing your training load is the first-line of treatment for injuries, this may not work as effectively for some people. There are multiple pathways for treating stubborn injuries, however for heel and tendon injuries we have found that Focused Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) has become the gold standard for those who may need a little extra help with the healing process or want to speed things up to get back doing what you want too when other treatments have failed to help.

Shockwave uses sound waves to create a low-level painful stimulus in the treated tissue that aims to stimulate tissue repair while at the same time can also have some short-term pain relief in the affected area as a side effect.

The treatment has been in New Zealand since the early 2000s and has become more popular recently as a safe alternative to more conventional treatments  In a lot of patients there seems to be an immediate reduction in their pain following each treatment session. Although we’re still unsure of the reason for this, experts have coined the term 'hyperstimulation anaesthesia' to explain the analgesic (pain-relieving) effect.  The treatment stimulates the nerves supplying the injury site, reducing their activity and decreasing or eliminating pain.  There is no damage to nerves in the process.  Our focused ESWT treatment is shown to be able to help not only in pain reduction in the short term but regeneration of injured tissue over a longer period of time.  It appears to be coming from the release of growth factors and the stimulation of new blood vessel development which helps in the healing process.  Initial improvements can be seen over a few weeks but the best results for injuries can be seen after 2-3 months.

We treat a number of different injury sites, with the gold standard evidence available for: 

-plantar heel pain (plantar fasciitis)
-achilles tendinopathy

We also have good evidence for:

-proximal hamstring tendinopathy
-patella tendinopathy
-insertional achilles tendinopathy
-greater trochanteric pain (outside hip pain)

We also have good emerging evidence for bone healing:

-non-union fractures (fractures that have not healed well)
-medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)

If you are getting frustrated with your injury and looking to speed up your recovery get in touch with us TODAY!

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