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Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive procedure for treating a number of painful musculoskeletal conditions. ESWT uses shockwaves to stimulate healing of the problematic tissue.
The mechanism of ESWT on musculoskeletal disorders is not fully understood, however it is thought that the shockwaves initiate a proinflammatory response in the affected tissue. The body responds by increasing the blood circulation and metabolism in the affected area which accelerates the body’s own healing process.
It can provide short-term reduction in pain and sensitivity to the area targeted. Over time, ESWT triggers the body's repair mechanism through the local release of various growth factors.
ESWT is offered to patients who have not responded to treatments such as rest, ice, pain relief medications and physiotherapy.
ESWT is safe and effective. The shockwaves may be uncomfortable or painful, but most patients tolerate it well. Minor bruising may develop, but that is temporary and rare.
You will be able to return to your usual activities right after the procedure and return to work immediately.
However, it is advised not to undertake any strenuous pain-provoking activity 48 hours following the procedure. Aggravating activities (e.g., running in the case of plantar fasciitis) should be avoided until two weeks after the completion of the course of ESWT.
Concurrent therapy (e.g., physiotherapy or orthotics) may be prescribed to address the underlying biomechanical causes of the injury.
You will need to see a doctor first to confirm the diagnosis and decide if ESWT is medically indicated.