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Shock Wave Therapy

Similar to ultrasound - shockwave delivers energy to the body.  The vibrations help promote healing by creating a small amount of damage to the tissue. This encourages inflammation which helps to promote new blood vessel growth and healing.  It may also help break up unwanted calcium deposits.  The treatment process is often described as "unpleasant but tolerable" and can be varied based on each person’s tolerance.


Shockwave therapy is most effective when used to treat chronic conditions (lasting 3 months or more) involving tendons, bones, or muscles. Some examples of these conditions are:

  • Rotator cuff injuries

  • Chronic muscle pain

  • Stress fractures

  • Tennis or golfer's elbow

  • Muscle strain

  • Delayed healing

  • Tendinopathies

  • Osgood-Schlatter disease

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Non-union fractures

Physiology of Shock Wave Treatment

The exact physiology of shockwave therapy is still unknown, however there are several theories regarding its mechanism. The positive pressure produced from shockwaves are absorbed, reflected, refracted and transmitted in the tissues which may cause the destruction of calcification. Shockwave may be similar to ultrasound by causing microcavitation for the release of nitric oxide. This leads to analgesia, angiogenesis and decreases in inflammation. Tenocyte proliferation and collagen synthesis may also be stimulated through shockwave. Finally, shockwave stimulates C-fibre nociceptors and enhances other pain inhibiting substances such as substance P, all leading to decreased pain levels.

Check with your physiotherapist if Shock Wave treatment is suitable for you!

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