Shockwave Therapy

What Conditions Can Be Treated?

Shockwave Therapy (SWT) or Radial Shockwave Therapy (rSWT) can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions, in particular, those involving areas where major connective tissue attaches to bone. Common sites that can be successfully treated are:

  • Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs & Achilles tendonitis
  • Patellar tendonitis, jumper’s knee & shin pain
  • Tennis or golfer’s elbow
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis & calcification (Shoulder)
  • Trochanteric bursitis (Hip)
  • Trigger points in muscles
  • Stress fractures/Shin Splints, non union’s (delayed bone healing)
  • Morton’s Neuroma (Nerve)

Research is accumulating in the use of SWT & rSWT. Evidence supporting its use has been published in high quality medical journals. The strongest evidence is for shoulder calcific tendinitis and plantar fasciitis, but satisfactory results have been published for other common musculotendinous problems that have “failed to respond”  to other conservative treatment. SWT is a non-surgical option with results that match surgical outcomes, and should be considered when other treatment options have failed.

Is SWT appropriate for me?

  • An initial assessment must be done and if your condition is appropriate you will be treated with SWT.
  • Shockwave Therapy (SWT) is used when all other treatments have been exhausted.
  • It is for a Chronic injury that has persisted more than 3 months.
  • It is most effective for conditions resulting from connective tissue attachments to bone. See the list above.
  • It is usually booked as 3 – 5 treatments 1X/ week for 3 – 5 weeks. Then we wait an additional 3 weeks without treatment to allow for healing to take place.
  • SWT is a “stand alone” treatment, no other modalities or exercises will be given during a SWT treatment.
  • Costs are located under the Fees tab.

What are the Advantages?

Shockwave therapy is a recent development that is used successfully by healthcare providers that specialize in musculoskeletal disorders. As compared to other treatment methods, the advantages are:

  • Quickly reduces pain
  • No medication is needed
  • Avoids surgery and anaesthesia
  • No side effects
  • No risk of allergies
  • Accelerates healing
  • Effective for chronic conditions


How does Radial Shockwave Therapy work?

Radial Shockwaves Therapy accelerate the healing process by activating the body’s self-healing powers, particularly in cases where the body has been unable to do so on its own. It stimulates metabolism and enhances blood circulation which enables damaged tissue to regenerate and eventually heal. The treatment relieves pain by producing an analgesic effect on the treatment area. Healing occurs over several treatments by initiating an inflammatory response and ultimately vascularization to the area. The high energy acoustic waves that are transmitted through the surface of the skin are spread radially (spherically) into the body and the body responds with increased metabolic activity around the area of the pain. This stimulates and accelerates the healing process and is especially useful for those suffering from chronic heel, shoulder, knee, achilles, and elbow pain.

Your therapist will apply shockwaves through a specially designed hand piece that produces strong energy pulses for short periods of time. The shockwave energy pulses are applied directly to the affected tissue areas in controlled procedure.
Shockwaves have a mechanical effect on the tissue. Pressure in the front of the shockwave is transmitted into the tissue, creating micro-cavitation bubbles that expand and burst into a resultant force.

This force penetrates tissue and stimulates cells in the body which are responsible for bone (osteoblast) and connective tissue (fibroblast) healing.

Research has also shown that Shockwave also breaks down calcium deposits.

What is the success rate?

After only 2-3 sessions, over 80% of patients report a significant reduction in pain.

  • 90% improvement for plantar fasciitis (Journal of Orthopedic Research, 2005)
  • 91% improvement for calcific tendonitis (Journal of American Medical Association, 2003)
  • 77% improvement for tennis elbow (Journal of Orthopedics, 2005)


How Long Does Treatment Last?

Treatment sessions are short (10-30 minutes depending on the disorder that is treated) and mildly uncomfortable. In general, 3-5 sessions are necessary at weekly intervals.
Ask your therapist if your condition can be treated by Shockwave Therapy and book your treatment sessions today!

Shockwave Therapy: FAQ
What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a series of high-energy percussions to the affected area. The shockwave is a physical shock, not an electrical one. Conventional physiotherapy treatments should be done first.
How does it work?
Treatment produces an inflammatory response. This causes the body to increase metabolic activity around the site of pain. The Shockwave assists disorganized tissue to gradually heal through tissue regeneration and repair models.
What conditions can be treated?
Areas where there are major connective tissue attachments to bone: plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff injuries, tennis and golfer’s elbow, trochanteric bursitis, Achilles tendinopathy and muscular trigger points.
What are the benefits of Shockwave?
This therapy works without the use of drugs. It stimulates the body’s natural self-healing processes. There is usually an immediate reduction of pain and better movement. Shockwave may also eliminate your need for a cortisone shot or surgery.
How long is each treatment?
One session usually lasts 10-30 minutes.
How many treatments are needed?
Normally 3 treatments are necessary, 1X/week for 3 weeks. Further healing takes place up to 6 weeks. Sometimes 5 sessions may be needed for very chronic conditions.
Does it hurt?
It can be uncomfortable. Different patients have different tolerances, but it is usually well tolerated. No pain, no gain applies.
Will it hurt after the treatment?
When you leave you will most likely be painfree, but there may be a throbbing pain later. (24-48 hrs.) Decrease physical activity for 48 hrs. We want an inflammatory response so refrain from using ice or anti-inflammatory meds. Tylenol is acceptable.
How much does it cost?
It is $100/ treatment.
Is it covered by my medical plan?
You will be issued a receipt for “physiotherapy”. If you have physiotherapy benefits it should be covered, but check with your provider.
Are there any contra-indications? Yes, the following:
  • Cortisone injection within the last 6 weeks
  • Hemophilia or any blood coagulation disorder
  • Blood thinner medication ( eg. Heparin, Coumadin)
  • Heart or circulatory problems (Thrombosis)
  • Growing children (Growth Plates)
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Shockwaves are generally not applied to target areas located above air filled tissue (lungs), large nerves and blood vessels, the spinal column or the head.

Why will I be asked to sign a consent form?

This type of treatment is non-conventional. Pain can increase temporarily. Bruising or swelling are also possible. Patients need to be informed of all related aspects before initiating treatment.

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