Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

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Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive, out-patient alternative to surgery for those suffering from many joint and tendon disorders. ESWT sends acoustic shock waves into bone or soft tissue, in effect reinjuring the area on a cellular level and breaking up the scarring that has penetrated tendons and ligaments. The controlled reinjuring of tissue allows the body to regenerate blood vessels and bone cells. The resulting revascularization leads to faster healing and often a return to pre-injury activity levels.


Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy is particularly good at pain management and elimination. The therapy is effective for three reasons: The shock waves stimulate a metabolic reaction in the affected tissue, causing stress fibers to develop and/or change in their permeability: they generate cavitation bubbles that break down calcific deposits; and they induce an analgesic reaction mechanism, which blocks pain messages.


• Patients who have chronic pain for more than 5-6 months.

• People with not much success with traditional therapies.

• Painkiller, medicine, injections, orthotics, physiotherapy and chiropractic has failed to work.


• Chronic Tendonitis of the Shoulder/Elbow/Wrist/Hip/Knee/Ankle

• Achilles Tendinosis/Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs

• Chronic neck, shoulder or back pain and tension (trigger points)

• Proximal iliotibial band friction syndrome

Medical Studies Success Rates

• 91% improvement for Calcific Tendinitis ( Journal of American Medical Association 2003)

• 77% improvement for Tennis Elbow ( The Journal of Orthopedics’ 2005)

• 90% improvement for Plantar Fasciitis ( Journal of Orthopedic Research 2005)

Scientific Evidence

In 2007, the American Journal of Sports Medicine published two articles on the effectiveness of extracorporeal shockwave therapy on the treatment of Jumpers Knee (patellar tendonitis) and achilles tendonopathy with a 75 percent success rate. Moreover, Dr. Gerdesmeyer’s latest publication, and abstract, shows an 84.8 percent success rate for plantar fasciitis. The same cannot be said for other popular therapies.

Many physicians believe Shockwave therapy should be used prior to taking drugs or receiving steroid injections because it is safer. Certainly it should be considered prior to undergoing surgical treatment.

Two excellent papers were published on the success of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. When combined with exercise, Shockwave showed a 75 percent success rate with patellar tendonopathy and a 76 per cent success rate for the treatment of Achilles tendonopathy.

Expert Author:
Michelle Kwong, Physioclinic

Further Reading

The article above is meant to provide general information and does not replace a doctor's consultation.
Please see your doctor for professional advice.