What is Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Therapy?
This is a type of treatment which is used to treat chronic plantar fasciitis (heel pain) or achilles tendinosis which is not responding to physiotherapy and other treatment modalities.
It consists of applying a focused blast of acoustic (sound) shockwaves to the affected soft tissues.This essentially stirs up the tissues to trigger a healing response in them. The body responds to these shockwaves by increasing the blood flow to this area and increasing the amount of local inflammatory mediators being delivered to the affected area.
There are two types of shockwave therapy used in medicine - a high energy or a low energy therapy. In the treatment of your condition, the low energy shock wave therapy is used as the high energy therapy is extremely painful and requires a general anaesthetic.
It involves identifying the sore point by palpation. A gel is applied to this area to allow the sound waves to pass unobstructed through the skin and a probe is then used to deliver the shockwaves to the affected spot.
What conditions can be treated with ESWT?
In foot and ankle surgery ESWT is licensed to be used for plantar fasciitis and achilles tendinosis.
Type of procedure
This is a day case procedure done in the out patient clinic.
Is this procedure painful?
Yes some discomfort during the application of these acoustic shockwaves is common, but it is certainly not unbearable. A local anaesthetic can be give around this area to minimise the discomfort. A general anaesthetic is not necessary.
How long will the treatment take?
Treatment usually consists of 3 to 5 sessions of ESWT, each lasting about 3 to 5 minutes.
What are the risks associated with this procedure?
- This procedure may cause redness of the skin which usually settles on its own.
- It may cause calf pain occasionally which also settles after a few days to weeks.
- Rarely, a rupture of the tendon or fascia has been reported in literature, although this is more common in elderly patients.
Post operative clinic visit schedule
Involves three sessions of treatment not more than 2 weeks apart.
Can I walk after my shockwave treatment session?
Yes, you are allowed to walk immediately after each session. However it is advisable to not do any sport during the duration of your treatment.