Shock wave therapy (SWT) is technology derived from ‘lithotripsy’; a technique to break down kidney stones using sound wave energy. In the 1990’s, SWT was found to be successful in treating certain musculoskeletal conditions. Radial shock wave therapy (rSWT) delivers a low-energy shock wave. It has evolved from more expensive medical technology.
The energy of rSWT is produced by a low frequency ballistic compression, creating an acoustic sound (or pulsed pressure) ‘shock wave’. The shock wave is directed at the selected treatment site to stimulate metabolism and enhance circulation. The shock energy assists disorganized tissue to gradually recover through tissue regeneration and repair models. Treatment sessions are short and moderately uncomfortable. rSWT is safe, and can be used by a physiotherapist in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders.
Conditions that benefit from SWT: Research is accumulating in the use of pulsed pressure rSWT. Evidence supporting its use has been published in high quality medical journals. The strongest evidence is for shoulder calcific tendinitis and plantar fasciitis, but satisfactory results have been published for other common musculotendinous problems that have ‘failed to respond’ to other conservative treatment. rSWT is a non-surgical option with results that match surgical outcomes, and should be considered when other treatment options have failed.
• 87% Shoulder tendinopathy (with or without calcification) • 86% Plantar fasciitis • 86% Achilles tendinopathy (including insertional) • 69% Tennis/Golfer’s elbow • 58% Patellar tendinopathy
Currently, the Dale Charles Physiotherapy group is the only physiotherapy provider using rSWT in the Okanagan.