Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave Therapy

Melbourne Physiotherapy Group is pleased to offer our clients access to Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) as a part of our suite of services.

What is Shockwave Therapy?

ESWT, also known as Shockwave Therapy, or Radial Shockwave Therapy, provides treatments to patients suffering from a range of chronic conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinopathy that are notoriously difficult to resolve.

Shockwave treatment was originally developed to treat kidney stones (renal calculi) and is known as Lithotripsy treatment in this area of medicine. It was developed to provide an alternative to surgery in these patients. Some patients who had their kidney stones successfully treated also reported improvement in chronic musculoskeletal conditions in regions which were in the pathway of the shockwave treatment.

How does Shockwave Therapy work?

The basic principles behind shockwave therapy are the high pressured acoustic shockwaves that travel through the skin to stimulate pain relief and tissue repair.

 What conditions does Shockwave Therapy treat?

Shockwave Therapy has attracted several clinical research trials which have supported its use in the treatment of patients with the following conditions:

  • Plantar Fasciitis/heel spur (calcaneal spur)
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Gluteal tendinopathy
  • Proximal hamstring tendinopathy
  • Calcific tendonitis of the shoulder
  • Patella tendinopathy
  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Other forms of insertional tendinopathy
  • Other musculoskeletal problems:
    • Muscle strains
    • Calcified Haematomas (“corkies”)
    • Shin splints
    • Osteitis pubis
    • Recalcitrant trigger points
    • Osgood Schlatter Disease

Impressive results have been reported in cases that have been recalcitrant and failed to respond to treatment regimes including conventional approaches. What sets this treatment apart from traditional treatments is that it treats the musculoskeletal pathology instead of just offering symptomatic relief.

What does it involve?

The physiotherapist will pass the shockwave applicator over the injured area. While the stimulation may produce some discomfort, patients often feel immediate reduction of pain in the first 24 hours after treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

The therapy usually takes up to 5 sessions of 10 – 15minutes.


What is the evidence?

There are a number of trials, including randomized controlled trials, which support the use of Shockwave Therapy:

  • Rompe et al 2008, Eccentric Loading Compared with Shockwave treatment for Chronic Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (America) 2008; 90: 52-61
  • Han et al 2009, Effect of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy on Cultured Tenocytes, Foot and Ankle International, 30: 93-98
  • Furia et al 2007, Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy in the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinopathy, Current Opinion in Orthopaedics 2007; 18: 101- 111
  • Rompe, JD; Radial Shockwave Therapy- Where do we stand today?; Translation from Medical Special, Apr 2006