Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) – treatment for Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis
IS ACHILLES TENDINOPATHY STOPPING YOU IN YOUR TRACKS? WE HAVE THE SOLUTION
EXTRACORPOREAL SHOCKWAVE THERAPY (ESWT)
Achilles tendinopathy is prevalent and potentially incapacitating in athletes involved in running sports. It can render an athlete out of action for several months. However, it is not always associated with excessive physical activity. It is a degenerative, not an inflammatory condition which is why it is called tendinopathy rather than tendinitis. Chronic pain seriously affects our private and working life and our physical fitness.
At Feet First we recommend EXTRACORPOREAL SHOCKWAVE THERAPY (ESWT) for the treatment of achilles tendinopathy and also plantar fasciitis. After only 4 or 5 sessions, over 80% of patients report painlessness or significant pain reduction. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a modern and highly effective treatment method; high-energy sound waves are introduced into the painful areas of the body. With this innovative treatment, pathological alterations of tendons, ligaments, capsules, muscles and bones can be eliminated.
How do shock waves work?
Shock waves accelerate the healing process by activating the body’s self-healing powers. They stimulate the metabolism and enhance the blood circulation. Damaged tissue gradually regenerates and eventually heals.
What causes Achilles Tendinopathy?
Excessive loading of the tendon during vigorous activities is regarded as the main cause. Damage to the tendon can occur even if it is stressed within normal limits when frequent micro trauma is not given enough time to heal resulting in fibre damage. Other factors also contribute such as blood supply to the tendon, gastrocnemius-soleus dysfunction, body weight, high arched feet, and lateral ankle instability. Excessive pronation predisposes the achilles to tendinopathy.
What are the symptoms?
Classic features are pain and swelling of the Achilles tendon, the gradual onset of morning stiffness which is often worse on days after a run. The pain/stiffness will typically “warm-up” during the first 5-10 minutes of a run. This feature often stops people seeking help as they initially run through the pain.
How is the therapy performed?
The therapist localises the pain region by palpation. A skin gel is then applied to the treatment area to allow the shock waves to be introduced into the body almost painlessly and without any loss of energy. After these preparations, shock waves are released as the shock wave applicator is moved over the pain region in a circular motion.
Duration and frequency of the therapy
The therapy session takes approximately 10 minutes depending on the disorder to be treated. In general, 5-8 therapy sessions are necessary at weekly intervals.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy has virtually no risks or side-effects.
Disorders that can be treated
Achilles tendon pain
Shin pain/tibial stress syndrome
Patellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee)