Radial shockwave therapy (shockwave)
Commonly called “Shockwave”, radial shockwave therapy is an effective treatment option for long-standing problems (for at least 6 months) that are not relieved by the usual treatment modalities. This shockwave treatment is particularly effective in curbing chronic pain in the heels: plantar fasciitis, heel spur and Achilles tendinosis.
Radial shockwave therapy, what is it?
When a problem becomes chronic and does not want to heal, it is as if the body is giving up on it. The affected structure then shows an absence of the natural physiological processes necessary for the repair of the tissues. At this stage, it becomes imperative to reactivate this normal healing process.
Radial shockwave therapy uses high-energy acoustic waves to have an impact on tissues with a chronic pain condition. This then activates the healing by causing an inflammatory reaction which is the first step towards tissue repair. It is like a machine that goes back in time to tell the body that there is an injury so that it reacts again.
Here’s how shockwave treatment works in affected tissues to cause faster healing, long-term pain relief and tissue regeneration:
- Mechanical energy by percussion
- Creates localized microtrauma
- Resumption of the inflammatory response
- Cleaning metabolic waste and toxins and destroying calcifications
- Increased blood circulation and neo-vascularization
- Promotes tissue repair and the stimulation of collagen production
- Gives a 2nd chance to healing
What are the earnings of radial shockwave therapy?
- An effective treatment option when other treatments have failed
- Specially adapted for chronic, recalcitrant conditions
- Works with the natural healing capacities of the human body
- A non-invasive treatment
- No medication is used
Complete Condition Assessment :
This includes a complete biomechanical examination, x-rays and an ultrasound. Thus, the origin of the problem is identified in order to establish the ideal treatment plan.
Radial shockwave therapy :
A series of 3 treatments is performed at the interval of one week between each session.
Exercises at home :
A simple protocol of stretching and strengthening exercises is to be done at home during the healing phase.
Follow ups :
It can take 2 to 3 months to really feel the benefits of radial shockwave therapy!
First, each patient should be evaluated to ensure that radial shockwave therapy is right for them. This rigorous assessment requires a complete biomechanical examination, x-rays and an ultrasound. This will help identify the source of the problem, verify and quantify the scope of the problem, and identify other treatment options that could be used. Moreover, the use of ultrasound will be used to monitor the evolution of the healing of the structure by allowing us to quantify its thickening, to observe the presence or not of inflammation and to check the alignment of the fibers of the tissues.
When radial shockwave therapy is chosen. A series of 3 treatments is then performed at the interval of one week between each session. One or two other sessions are sometimes necessary depending on the evolution of the problem.
Each session begins with a series of lower intensity pulses to “numb” the structure. The rest of the pulses can then be administered at a higher intensity. This treatment remains uncomfortable, but since it takes less than 5 minutes, is well tolerated by patients. It is still possible to adjust the parameters throughout the treatment and to adjust it for each patient.
After the treatment, it is prohibited to use anti-inflammatories (even Advil or voltaren Emulgel) and it is also forbidden to apply heat or ice on the treated area for the 3 weeks of the protocol and the 4 Weeks after the treatment since the use of these products goes against the desired effect: inflammation! However, patients may report a transient increase in symptoms from 24 to 48 hours after a session, a painkiller such as Tylenol may be used.
Following the treatment, patients are encouraged to continue their regular activities and avoid completely immobilizing the treated structure. However, the most intense activities that could stress the area are forbidden for the first month (sports, running, long walks, heavy household chores, etc.).
A gradual return to these activities can be expected after the first month (walk-on program, walk 40 minutes, flat terrain, etc.). It is after the 2nd or 3rd month that you will gradually increase the stress of the treated site (more intense sports, walking in the mountains, etc.) Everything is evidently according to the evolution of each patient.
Follow-ups are carried out after one month and another one three months after the last session. It is important to know that it is quite rare to see results after only one month of treatment. It may take 2 to 3 months to actually experience the benefits of radial shockwave therapy!
Shockwave treatment alone will cure me!
Shockwave therapy is the first step of treatment and not the last! It should absolutely be complemented by eccentric stretching exercises and sometimes other complementary exercises that you will begin one week after the last session. Your podiatrist will give you all the necessary information.