Diagnostics & Treatments

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is a clinically proven and highly effective treatment for chronic soft tissue injuries and is endorsed by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and hospital consultants. ESWT has been used to treat Premiership football stars, Olympians and other famous sportsmen and women. ESWT is defined as a non-invasive, non-electrical high energy sound wave that passes through the body via a hand-held probe.

How does ESWT work?

Sound waves are movements of extremely high pressure and is clinically proven that these sound waves, when applied to injured tissues, stimulate metabolic reactions (picture), including:

  • Reduction of pain felt by nerve fibres.
  • Rapid increase of blood circulation in targeted and surrounding soft tissues.
  • Beginning of healing process triggered by stem cells activation.

What does ESWT treat?

ESWT can be effective on a wide range of soft tissue injuries. Here are some examples of conditions where ESWT has effectively treated and reduced pain and help restore normal function:

  • Shoulder tendinopathy (tendonitis) and calcific tendonitis.
  • Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).
  • Medial epicondylitis (golfer‘s elbow).
  • Patellar tendinopathy/tendonitis (jumper‘s knee).
  • Achilles tendinopathy/tendonitis (insertional and mid portion Achilles tendinopathy.
  • Lateral hip pain e.g. greater trochanteric pain syndrome.
  • Heel pain e.g plantar fasciitis.
  • Muscle tightness/triggers points

How successful is ESWT?

After only three treatments with ESWT, 70- 80% of patients report a reduction of pain and regaining of normal function. Research is steadily growing for this cutting edge technology, and the latest reports are confirming ESWT is an effective treatment of soft tissue injuries. When investing in advanced technology like ESWT, it is important to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the equipment, as well as having the backing of evidenced-based research. At ECP we have a EMS ESWT machine and are well known for their high standards of medical equipment and are leaders in the field with 90% of the research is performed using an EMS machine.

RECOMMENDATION: Research supports three treatments, to gain the full effect of ESWT, booked once a week for three consecutive weeks. For block bookings, we offer a package deal, for further details please see consultation costs.

What can I expect at my consultation?

ESWT would only be performed following diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound examination, to ensure ESWT is treating a chronic soft tissue, as stated above. ESWT will be fully explained and treatment typically lasts for 10-15 minutes.

Is ESWT combined with other physiotherapy treatments?

ESWT is a routinely a stand-alone specific treatment. Other physiotherapy treatments may be used alongside, such as loading exercises, advice and stretches, but ESWT is a stand-alone treatment, therefore ESWT is an added cost alongside other physiotherapy treatments.

Are there any side effects?

There are no known side effects with ESWT.

  • Most patients experience a reduction of their pain.
  • Mild diffuse pain can be experienced within a few hours of treatment and which may last 24 hours.
  • Reddening of the skin or some petechia (minor bleed from broken capillary blood vessels).
  • Swelling and numbness of the skin over the treatment area.

Are there contraindications for ESWT?

ESWT should not be used when:

  • Pregnancy or trying to conceive.
  • Application over open growth plates – not suitable for under 18 years.
  • Over post surgical metal pins or plates.
  • Malignant tumours or bacterial infection or open wounds.
  • Nerve or circulation disorders.
  • If the patient is taking oral anticoagulants.
  • If you have had a cortisone injection to the soft tissue in the last 3 months.

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