Shockwave Therapy - A Revolutionary Treatment for Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis is a common condition characterised by inflammation and pain in the Achilles tendon, the large tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It primarily affects athletes and individuals engaged in activities involving repetitive movements or sudden increases in physical activity. While traditional treatments like rest, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications have been used, a revolutionary approach known as shockwave therapy is gaining popularity as an effective treatment for Achilles tendinitis. In this article, we will explore the benefits, procedure, and effectiveness of shockwave therapy for Achilles tendinitis.
Understanding Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy, also known as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT), is a non-invasive and innovative treatment that employs high-energy shockwaves to stimulate the body's natural healing process. The shockwaves are delivered to the affected area, promoting blood flow, collagen production, and tissue regeneration. This treatment is particularly effective in treating chronic musculoskeletal conditions, including Achilles tendinitis.
Benefits of Shockwave Therapy for Achilles Tendinitis
1. Non-invasive and Low-risk: Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical procedure, making it a low-risk treatment option compared to traditional surgical interventions. It avoids potential complications associated with surgery, such as infection and scarring.
2. Accelerated Healing: By promoting blood circulation and collagen production, shockwave therapy accelerates the healing process in the injured Achilles tendon. This results in quicker recovery times compared to conventional treatment methods.
3. Pain Reduction: Shockwave therapy effectively reduces pain associated with Achilles tendinitis. It targets the pain receptors in the affected area, providing relief to patients experiencing chronic pain.
4. Improved Mobility: As the healing process progresses, patients often notice improved mobility and range of motion in the affected ankle, allowing them to return to their daily activities and sports.
The Shockwave Therapy Procedure
Before undergoing shockwave therapy, patients will have a thorough examination by our qualified physiotherapist, Dr Uwe Schwiersch DPT. This evaluation helps determine the severity of the Achilles tendinitis and whether shockwave therapy is a suitable treatment option.
The actual procedure involves the following steps:
1. Application of Gel: A gel is applied to the skin to help transmit the shockwaves effectively and minimise discomfort during the treatment.
2. Shockwave Application: The healthcare professional uses a handheld device that emits high-energy shockwaves to the targeted area.
3. Treatment Duration: A typical shockwave therapy session for Achilles tendinitis lasts for about 15 to 30 minutes.
4. Post-treatment Care: Following the procedure, patients may experience mild discomfort or soreness, which usually subsides within a few hours. Rest and avoiding strenuous activities are advised to allow the body to heal effectively.
Effectiveness of Shockwave Therapy
Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of shockwave therapy in treating Achilles tendinitis. A systematic review published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research found that shockwave therapy significantly improved pain scores and functional outcomes in patients with chronic Achilles tendinopathy.
Shockwave therapy presents a promising and innovative approach to treat Achilles tendinitis, offering a non-invasive, low-risk, and effective solution for individuals suffering from chronic pain and inflammation. As with any medical procedure, it is essential to consult with our physiotherapist Dr Uwe Schwiersch DPT to determine the best treatment plan for each patient's specific condition. With the potential to speed up recovery, reduce pain, and improve mobility, shockwave therapy is paving the way for a more efficient and successful management of Achilles tendinitis.