Shockwave ESWT heel pain podiatrist Worcester

Shockwave therapy for pain

Shockwave Therapy for pain – for tendons, muscles, ligaments, and bones – gives a non-invasive, no side effect treatment for pain, and improves mobility within tissue.

SO Podiatry Worcester clinic foot heal leg pain treatment

What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave therapy is an alternative to steroid injections and surgery. It is a series of high energy acoustic waves applied to the painful part of the body. It is a mechanical wave that kickstarts a new inflammatory reaction to the tissues in the body, which responds by increasing blood flow and metabolism to the area accelerating your body’s own natural healing process.

Shockwaves are used to reduce pain and restore mobility from injuries, or conditions of soft tissues that have not repaired effectively enough.

Shockwave therapy has been around a long time; it had evolved originally over 20 years ago. It was used to eradicate kidney stones without causing harm to the skin. Through innovation and technology, the use of shockwaves has now been extended to other therapies and treatments especially that of the musculoskeletal system. At SO Podiatry we have been using shockwave therapy for over two years.                 shockwave heel pain plantar fasciitis podiatrist Worcester Hereford

What is it typically used for?

Heel pain, achilles pain, knee pain, tendon pain, musculoskeletal pain that affects your muscles bones, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and blood supply that are either acute or chronic. They can be localised or widespread. With the use of shockwave therapy, pain can be reduced due to greater healing rates.

Shockwave therapy is quick and easy; a typical shockwave treatment session is usually between 15 to 30 minutes with an average of 3000 to 5000 shocks being emitted onto the area. Although some discomfort is felt in certain areas, the threshold may vary depending on the level of injury. If necessary, the range of shockwaves is adjusted throughout the course of treatment to enable comfort.

Shockwave therapy is effective as a course of treatment and is usually booked 3 to 4 sessions with weekly intervals. It is used in combination with rehab therapy to ensure that you get the best outcomes. Most often in clinic we use it for treatment of achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis but also in areas where progress has plateaued. This can mean using shockwave therapy to break down thickening around a tendon or a joint area. Shockwave therapy is often used when other conservative forms of therapy have failed. It is very safe to use; it is non-invasive and improvement even from the initial session is often noticed.

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What are the side effects?

Some pain during the treatment is expected – however you should be able to tolerate this. Post-treatment, you may experience redness, tenderness, mild bruising, a tingling sensation, or slight numbness to the area. Overall, the recovery time of any injury using shockwave therapy is drastically decreased compared to that of surgical intervention.

You cannot have shockwave therapy if you:

  • are pregnant
  • are taking antiplatelets (for example, aspirin or clopidigrel) or anticoagulants (such as warfarin or rivaroxaban)
  • have a blood clotting disorder
  • are under the age of 18
  • have been diagnosed with bone cancer
  • have a cardiac pacemaker or other cardiac device
  • have an infection in your foot or a history of tendon or ligament rupture
  • have had any steroid injections in the previous 12 weeks

We would discuss all of this in clinic prior to your treatment, as well as discussing the benefits and risks of the procedure with you in more detail – please let them know if you have any questions or would like any further information.

What happens during the treatment?

The treatment will be given in the SO Podiatry Clinic Worcester. You will be asked to lie on your front with your legs supported by a pillow. Your podiatrist carrying out the treatment, they will put some ultrasound gel on the injured area and then place the hand piece of the device over the surface of the skin and the gel. The shockwave therapy is delivered using the hand piece – it delivers compressed air impulses through the ultrasound gel. Each treatment will take approximately 15-30 minutes

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What happens after receiving shockwave therapy?

After the treatment you will be able to get up and walk straight away. If you do experience discomfort following the shockwave treatment you can take over the counter painkillers (such as paracetamol). You should avoid anti-inflammatory medication (such as aspirin and ibuprofen) and ice therapy, as these can interfere with the body’s healing process. As part of the treatment plan, we may also recommend specific exercises and/or orthotics to help with shock absorption or any underlying biomechanical complaint.

What do I need to do after I go home?

You will be able to return to your usual activities straight away and can return to work immediately. However, we advise you not to undertake any strenuous, pain-provoking activity or high impact exercise for 48 hours following the procedure. If you experience a sudden onset of pain to the area or any loss of function, please contact your GP or go to your nearest A&E department.


Shockwave therapy has been approved by  NICE for Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinopathy.


Do you have pain at the back of your heel, or first thing in the morning when you stand up?


If you have any pains or difficulties in areas mentioned above, shockwave therapy may be useful to help improve this.


Get in touch today to discuss further, and let’s see if we can treat that pain and improve your comfort