Radial Shockwave Therapy

    Radial Shockwave Therapy sends acoustic shock waves into soft tissue, breaking up scar tissue and essentially re-injuring the area on a cellular level. The controlled re-injury enhances blood flow and stimulates the immune system, allowing the body to heal an injury which had become chronic and stagnant. Radial shockwave is a stimulus for tissue remodelling, which is why it often succeeds when other treatment approaches have failed.

    The effect of the shockwaves is threefold: they stimulate a metabolic reaction; they generate cavitation bubbles that break down calcific deposits; they induce an analgesic effect by stimulating the brain’s gate-control mechanism, blocking pain signals.

Who can benefit from Radial Shockwave Therapy?

    The nature of Radial Shockwave treatment makes it ideally suited to those suffering with chronic muscle and tendon injuries or calcific tendinopathy. Research supports the use of Radial Shockwave Therapy to treat:

  • plantar fasciitis/fasciosis
  • lateral epicondylagia/tennis elbow
  • golfer’s elbow
  • calcific rotator cuff tendinopathy
  • patellar tendinopathy
  • gluteal tendinopathy/greater trochanteric pain syndrome

    Those who have not had success with other types of treatment are particularly good candidates for radial shockwave therapy.

What is a treatment like and what does it cost?

    A typical protocol involves 3 sessions each spaced 7-10 days apart. The treatment itself involves the application of a gel to the area to be treated to help conduct the acoustic waves into the tissue. The sensation of mild discomfort can be expected and treatments take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Should they be needed, breaks can be taken whenever requested by the patient. Most patients describe the sensation as a “good hurt”, and it is well tolerated by all.

    A radial shockwave treatment protocol costs $475 and will be covered under physical therapy services of an extended health care plan. The maximal effect is not achieved until approximately 12 weeks after the initial treatment. Often pain is improved after the first session, however, this is not always the case. We encourage patients to have all 3 treatment sessions even if they are pain-free after their first session – the additional treatment ensures full healing and long term resolution of the issue. Even in the absence of pain, healing continues which is why the maximal effect is delayed for 12 weeks. If pain is not abolished after 12 weeks, a 4th session will be provided at no charge.

What does the research say about Radial Shockwave Therapy?

    The Swiss Dolorclast machine used at Lake Country Physiotherapy is the world’s most extensively researched radial shockwave delivery system. It remains the only approved unit covered by the National Health Services in the United Kingdom for shockwave treatment.

    International, peer-reviewed literature has demonstrated that radial shockwave therapy is a non-invasive therapeutic modality offering effectiveness, convenience and safety. It has the potential of replacing surgery in managing certain orthopeadic disorders without the surgical risks. The complication rates of radial shockwave therapy are low and negligible.

    A sample of the research demonstrating the effectiveness of Radial Shockwave Therapy:

    • Gerdesmeyer L, Frey C, Vester J, Maier M, Weil L Jr, Weil L Sr, Russlies M, Stienstra J, Scurran B, Fedder K, Diehl P, Lohrer H, Henne M, Gollwitzer H. (2008).

 Radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy is safe and effective in the treatment of chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis: results of a confirmatory randomized placebo-controlled multicenter study.

     American Journal of Sports Medicine; 36: 2100-2109

    • Ibrahim Ibrahim M, Donatelli R, Schmitz C, Hellman M, Buxbaum F. (2010).

Successful treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis with two sessions of radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy.

     Foot and Ankle International; 31: 391-397

    • Shaheen AAM. (2010).

Comparison of three different treatment protocols of low-energy radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy for management of chronic plantar fasciitis.

     Independent Journal of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy; 4: 8-12

    • Rompe JD, Furia J, Maffulli N. (2009).

 Eccentric loading versus eccentric loading plus shock-wave treatment for midportion Achilles tendinopathy: a randomized controlled trial.

     American Journal of Sports Medicine; 37: 463-470.

    • Rompe JD, Furia J, Maffuli N. (2008).

 Eccentric loading compared with shock wave treatment for chronic insertional Achilles tendinopathy. A randomized, controlled trial.

     Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery; 90: 52-61.

    • Rompe JD, Segal NA, Cacchio A, Furia JP, Morral A, Maffulli N. (2009).

 Home training, local corticosteroid injection, or radial shock wave therapy for greater trochanter pain syndrome.

    American Journal of Sports Medicine; 37: 1981-1990.

    • Furia JP, Rompe JD, Maffulli N. (2009).

 Low-energy extracorporeal shock wave therapy as a treatment for greater trochanter pain syndrome.

     American Journal of Sports Medicine; 37: 1806-1813.

    • Cacchio A, Rompe JD, Furia JP, Susi P, Santilli V, De Paulis F. (2011).

 Shockwave therapy for the treatment of chronic proximal hamstring tendinopathy in professional athletes.

     American Journal of Sports Medicine; 39: 146-153.

    • Wang, CJ. (2012).

 Extracorporeal shockwave therapy in musculoskeletal disorders.

     Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, 7:11

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