What's Shockwave Therapy?
Most people when they think of shock waves, they think of electric shocks. Rest assured, shock wave therapy has nothing to do with shocking you with electricity!
There are two main kinds of shockwave that we use at Erica Dash Podiatry. One is known as Radial Shockwave Therapy and the other is called Focal Shockwave Therapy.
We use shockwave to treat a number of different things from muscle injury to minor bone stress fractures. It is a therapy that has helped many people get back to doing what they love!
What's the Difference Between Radical Shockwave & Focal Shockwave?
To keep it basic, Radial Shockwave is generated under air pressure and is mostly used over a broad area (like the muscle belly of a muscle) and Focal Shockwave is generated in a fluid similar to water and used on a focused area (such as the insertion of a muscle or trigger point).
Both can be used in the same treatment and often are, as the benefits of both can help you heal faster.
How Does Shockwave Work?
Both forms of shockwave therapy produce many reactions in the body. In essence, it is a mechanical stimulation that produces a response in the body.
Improvement in blood flow to the area, increased immune response, reduced healing time, break up of scar tissue and/or dense collagen fibres, increased bone healing are just some of the things that shockwave therapy helps to encourage.
Radial shockwave - As you can see from the picture, radial shockwave involves a handpiece that is connected to a machine via an air hose.
Inside the handpiece is a fluted chamber that houses a small metal bullet. As the air pressure is delivered into the hand piece, the metal bullet is fired through the flute and at the metal plate which is placed against your skin.
The impact is what produces the shockwaves which then travel into your body.
Focal shockwave - Focal shockwave also involves a hand piece that is placed onto your skin. The shockwaves are produced a little differently to radial shockwaves.
In a focal shockwave machine, the shockwaves are made by an element that is submerged in a fluid.
The shockwaves then travel through the applicator on the handpiece that is also made of a similar fluid substance and then into your body.
Focal shockwaves can be more precise and focused on a particular area.
This is because your body is mainly made up of water so as the shockwaves travel into the body they can travel more deeply.
Who Does it Help & What Conditions Can Shockwave Treat?
Shockwave therapy can be used to treat many different conditions. Some examples are:
- sporting injuries,
- hip pain,
- knee pain,
- arthritic pain,
- muscle strains,
- plantar fasciitis,
- stress fractures,
- overuse injuries and much more!
Shockwave therapy is also highly effective for sports injuries and can also help optimise performance and alleviate muscle imbalances for elite athletes.
Many patients also report additional benefits such as improved sleep and mental wellbeing due to overall better body function.
Why Choose Shockwave Therapy Over Other Treatments?
Shockwave is a great alternative to treatments such as dry needling if you’re needle phobic and not keen on dry needling. This also makes it a better option for kids who have injuries as well.
Shockwave has also been shown to improve symptoms in chronic conditions, or injuries that have been around for a long time. This includes conditions such as osteoarthritis.
It can also help prevent the requirement for future surgery and maintain current levels of mobility such as in the case of knee osteo-arthritis.
This style of treatment will be more or less on going, with a once per week for six week program, accompanied with a stretching and strengthening program.
There will then be a 12 week break, where most of the focus will be on stretching and strengthening followed by another 6 weekly sessions of shockwave.
This strategy is mainly used as a maintenance and injury prevention in long term conditions like knee osteoarthritis.
Shockwave is often used as part of a whole treatment package and this will depend on your unique problems and the way your body responds to treatment.
Your friendly experts at Erica Dash Podiatry will discuss the appropriate recommended practices with you.
Shockwave vs Traditional Therapeutic Treatments
Why choose shockwave over other traditional treatments such as massage therapy or strapping etc? The body of evidence supporting shockwave therapy is growing around the world.
In Germany alone more than 10000 machines are being used by healthcare professionals!
Although traditional treatment methods can be effective, shockwave therapy has been shown to accelerate your immune response and other cellular functions to improve healing time.
It is also measurable as improvements can be monitored by adjustments on the settings of the machine.
We can also treat multiple things at the same time using shockwave therapy such as scar tissue, bone spurring and muscle trigger points all in the one treatment.
Why waste time mucking around with multiple different treatment options when shockwave can address them all. That’s what we think anyway!
Will It Hurt?
There will be some mild discomfort with the use of shockwave for it to be effective. The sensation will be similar to a dull toothache or a 5-6/10 pain.
Everyone has a different level of tolerance to discomfort. Your podiatrist will take the time to dial in the right settings for you to provide the best possible treatment while causing the least amount of discomfort.
Other sensations that you might experience is a mild tingling, referral and/or pulsing sensation. This is normal and is a good indicator that the shockwave is working.
After their session, people often experience an improvement in their symptoms with the area treated feeling more relaxed and improvement in function.
There is often a euphoric response that makes the person feel they can return to their usual level of activity.
It is important to remember that you will need to take it easy and rest for the 24hrs after your treatment as your injury will still need time to heal.
For a few days after your treatment you may experience some generalised soreness in the area that was treated with shockwave as well. This is perfectly normal and will subside quickly.
Contact Us Today?
If you're wondering if shockwave therapy could help you with your injury, contact us and make an appointment today!
All of our podiatrists are competent with using shockwave therapy as a treatment and would love to get you back to performing pain free.