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Shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), is a non-invasive medical treatment that has gained popularity for its effectiveness in managing various foot-related pathologies. This innovative approach employs sound waves to stimulate healing and reduce pain, making it a valuable option for conditions like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, and calcaneal spur.

How Shockwave Therapy Works:

Sound waves deliver energy to targeted tissues. The key mechanisms of action include:

1. Mechanical Effects: Shockwaves exert mechanical pressure on the affected area, leading to the breakdown of calcifications and stimulating blood flow. This helps in the dissolution of calcaneal spurs and promotes tissue healing.

2. Biological Effects: Shockwaves trigger a series of biological responses at the cellular level. They increase the production of growth factors and stimulate the formation of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. This aids in tissue repair and regeneration.

3. Neurological Effects: Shockwaves can disrupt pain signals and relieve pain by overstimulating nerve fibres responsible for transmitting pain.

Evidence for the Use of Shockwave Therapy in Foot Pathologies:

Numerous studies and clinical trials have provided evidence of the efficacy of shockwave therapy in treating various foot-related pathologies:

  • Plantar Fasciitis: A systematic review published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery1 (2019) found that shockwave therapy significantly reduced pain and improved function in patients with plantar fasciitis. Another study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery2 (2018) also demonstrated the benefits of shockwave therapy in managing this condition.
  • Achilles Tendinopathy: The American Journal of Sports Medicine3 published a study in (2020), indicating that shockwave therapy effectively improved pain and function in patients with Achilles tendinopathy. This aligns with the findings of previous research in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research4 (2018).
  • Calcaneal Spur: A study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research5 (2016) showed that shockwave therapy led to a significant reduction in pain and improved quality of life for patients with calcaneal spurs.
Damir Shockwave Therapy

These studies collectively demonstrate the clinical efficacy of shockwave therapy in managing common foot pathologies.

Possible Side Effects:

Shockwave therapy is generally safe and non-invasive, but it may cause mild and transient side effects, including:

  • Pain: Mild discomfort during or after the procedure, usually short-lived and manageable without pain relief.
  • Redness and Swelling: Temporary skin redness and swelling at the treatment site, subsiding within a few days.
  • Bruising: Bruising may occur, especially in patients with sensitive skin, and resolves on its own.
  • Numbness or Tingling: In rare cases, patients may experience numbness or tingling in the treated area, but this is usually temporary.

Patients considering shockwave therapy should discuss the risks and benefits with their podiatrist. The procedure is generally contraindicated for pregnant women, those with blood clotting disorders, or over known tumors. Adhering to recommended treatment protocols is crucial to maximize benefits and minimize side effects.

Damir Shockwave 2

Shockwave therapy is a valuable and non-invasive treatment option for various foot-related pathologies. Its effectiveness is supported by a growing body of clinical evidence. Although there are possible side effects, they are typically mild and temporary, making shockwave therapy a safe and beneficial choice for many individuals suffering from foot pain and conditions.

Reference Articles:

1 Li, H., Xiong, Y., Zhou, W., Liu, Y., Liu, J., Xue, H., Hu, L., Panayi, A.C., Mi, B. and Liu, G., 2019. Shock-wave therapy improved outcome with plantar fasciitis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Archives of orthopaedic and trauma surgery, 139, pp.1763-1770.

2 Uğurlar, M., Sönmez, M.M., Uğurlar, Ö.Y., Adıyeke, L., Yıldırım, H. and Eren, O.T., 2018. Effectiveness of four different treatment modalities in the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis during a 36-month follow-up period: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 57(5), pp.913-918.

3 Zhang, S., Li, H., Yao, W., Hua, Y. and Li, Y., 2020. Therapeutic response of extracorporeal shock wave therapy for insertional Achilles tendinopathy between sports-active and nonsports-active patients with 5-year follow-up. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 8(1), p.2325967119898118.

4 Wheeler, P.C., 2019. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy plus rehabilitation for insertional and noninsertional achilles tendinopathy shows good results across a range of domains of function. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 58(4), pp.617-622.

5 Krukowska, J., Wrona, J., Sienkiewicz, M. and Czernicki, J., 2016. A comparative analysis of analgesic efficacy of ultrasound and shock wave therapy in the treatment of patients with inflammation of the attachment of the plantar fascia in the course of calcaneal spurs. Archives of orthopaedic and trauma surgery, 136, pp.1289-1296.

Lo Res Damir Metljak 9

Consult with our Podiatrist, Damir Metljak at our Calvary Adelaide Clinic to discuss if Shockwave Therapy might be beneficial in the management of your painful foot or lower limb condition!

Appointments | 8232 5833