What is Shockwave Therapy?

Aug 31, 2019

What is Shockwave Therapy?

Extra-corporeal Shockwave therapy (ECSWT, often just referred to as Shockwave therapy, is a non-surgical treatment that works by delivery impulses of energy to injured tissue.

It is often used for tendon pains and conditions like plantar fasciitis. By delivering energy impulses blood flow to the painful area is increased which can stimulate cell regeneration and healing (by breaking down damaged tissue and promoting useful inflammation) and reduce pain and allow return to function or sport for the patient.


Shockwave treatment is delivered without the need for any anaesthetic or sedation and doesn’t normally require the patient to take much time (if any) off sport or daily activities. Treatments are done in outpatient clinics; you do not need to go to theatre like with an operation. Treatment is normally over 3 or more sessions – and often used for pain relief to allow other types of physiotherapy treatment (like high loading/strengthening of a painful tendon) to be possible.

What should I expect?

When shockwave is delivered a gel substance will be applied over the applicator to prevent friction (similar when an ultrasound is done). The probe is then pressed on the painful area and the shockwaves are delivered through the probe and the shockwave spreads inside the injured tissue under the skin. These shockwaves initiate an inflammatory response as mentioned earlier. The shockwaves are felt as pulses that can, in some cases, be uncomfortable during treatment. The vast majority find that their normal pain is significantly reduced after the treatment session.

Typical conditions Shockwave treatment can help with:

  • Some types of achilles tendon problems
  • Hamstring tendon problems
  • Gluteal tendon problems (sometimes referred to as Greater Trochanteric pain/bursitis of the hip).
  • Calcific tendon problems of the shoulder or elbow
  • Golfers or tennis elbow
  • Plantar fasciitis

For long-term recovery Shockwave treatment works best when combined with other physiotherapy input. It is an add-on treatment that can really help with stubborn tendon problems by making other physiotherapy treatments like tendon loading exercises less painful and more productive. It is often used when conventional tendon rehab hasn’t been effective or when progress has plateaued.

Shockwave therapy is a treatment that is now available through Flex Physiotherapy Practice in our Milton clinic based at Milton Park, Didcot.

If you are interested in Shockwave therapy or have a problem that you feel may warrant this treatment then call 01235 313595 to get booked in with one of the physiotherapy team for an initial assessment to see if it is a treatment option that may help you recover!