Our team collaborated with our international colleagues in London, Singapore and Dubai to offer our patients an exciting new tool to promote natural healing without surgery. We research cutting edge technology around the globe & are one of the few US clinics to offer the Swiss manufactured Storz Duolith shockwave machine.
What is ESWT?
As a popular European treatment therapy for patients and elite athletes, ESWT works by targeting shock waves directly to the area triggering pain. Initially developed to break up kidney stones, research shows that many orthopedic injuries improve with ESWT. This non-invasive procedure does not involve needles or surgery.
How does ESWT Reduce Pain?
The mechanism of action is based on shockwaves interrupting pain pathways of the inflamed nerves at cellular levels. This leads to restoration of healthy nerve function and promotes new blood vessel growth to facilitate natural healing.
What Conditions Does It Treat?
SEWST is used to treat many orthopedic conditions, including plantar fasciitis (heel spurs), patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee), lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow) and shoulder tendinitis, bone inflammation associated with knee arthritis, stress and non-union fractures, acute muscle strains/tears and more. It may be effective alone or as an adjunct (combined with Platelet Rich Plasma or Bone Marrow Stem Cells) for more significant injuries.
Are There Studies Documenting Its Success Rate?
There’s an abundance of published research to support its use, including double blind randomized controlled studies. To highlight just a few, 250 patients with Plantar Fasciitis were divided into groups and the ones that received ESWT experienced significant reduction in pain compared to those that did not. In a study with MRI evidence of bone marrow inflammation in the knee joint as seen on MRI, there was statistically significant reduction of this finding on MRI at 6 months followed by complete resolution on MRI at 12 months after receiving ESWT. Bone inflammation (termed bony edema) has been found to be predictive of more significant pain levels in patients having knee arthritis and its resolution on MRI correlates with pain reduction and functional improvement.
Resources & Studies
- "Shock Waves In The Treatment of Stress Fractures."
- "Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Accelerates Regeneration After Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury."
- "Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy is Effective in the Treatment of Bone Marrow Edema of the Medical Compartment of the Knee: A Comparative Study."
- "Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy in the Treatment of Primary Bone Marrow Edema Syndrome of the Knee: A Prospective Randomised Controlled Study."
- Extracorporeal shock wave treatment can normalize painful bone marrow edema in knee osteoarthritis: A comparative historical cohort study.
What Are THe Potential Side Effects Or Complications of ESWT?
One of the main benefits of ESWT is the low risk. The treatment “extracorporeal,” meaning that patients receive the therapy “outside the body” instead of invasive surgery. Depending on the diagnosis patients may experience mild temporary discomfort during treatment as ESWT seeks out painful regions to desensitize them. The shockwaves are directed at the point of maximum symptoms to optimize healing. Rarely ESWT may cause skin redness, bruising, numbness, tingling or radiating pain. If these symptoms do occur, they are short lived and self resolving. Contraindications to shockwave therapy include bleeding disorders and pregnancy.
How Many Treatments Are Recommended And At What Intervals?
Typically, a total of 5 treatment sessions are recommended once per week. If a PRP is performed as part of the treatment plan, ESWT is ideally performed the day of the procedure and resumed 2 weeks after PRP. Some patients report immediate pain relief, but natural healing of injured tissue occurs approximately 8 weeks following treatment. Between treatments, patients are able to resume regular activities as tolerated.
What Logistics Can be Expected During An ESWT Session
Before ESWT patients receive a 5 minute treatment of class IV laser to maximize effects. The patient lies in a comfortable position while a technician places the probe on the area of maximal tenderness administering ESWT. The total treatment typically lasts approximately 15 minutes and is performed at our Orthohealing office with no anesthesia required.
Does Insurance Cover ESWT?
ESWT is a cost effective treatment but is not recognized by insurance. More info on ESWT is available at: https://www.shockwavetherapy.org/about-eswt/introduction/.