Radial Shock Wave Therapy (RSWT)
What is Shockwave Therapy?
Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT) is a procedure where shock waves are passed through the skin to the injured part of the body being treated, using our Swiss Dolorclast® Shockwave Unit. The shockwaves are mechanical and not electric. They are audible, low energy sound waves, which work by increasing blood flow to the injured area. This initiates an inflammation-like response in the injured tissue, accelerating the body’s healing process by increasing cell generation and dissolving calcium deposits.
Why should I have Shockwave Therapy?
RSWT is offered to patients with Achilles tendinopathy, patella tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis, who have not responded adequately to conservative treatments, such as physiotherapy, rest, injections, ice therapy and painkillers. It is a minimally invasive treatment that is carried out at our Cardiff clinic.
Shockwave therapy can be very successful in patients who have failed to respond to conservative treatment of tendon pain. The combination of shockwave therapy and a graded tendon re-loading rehab programme with our physiotherapists is recommended to give increased treatment benefits. You will usually require a course of up to six treatments, 7 to 10 days apart.
Shockwave therapy has been shown to be effective for the following conditions:
- Tennis Elbow
- Golfers Elbow
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Patella (Knee) Tendinopathy
- Trochanteric (Hip) pain syndrome
What are the risks/side effects?
You will experience some pain during the treatment, but you will be able to tolerate this. Following the treatment, you may experience redness, bruising, swelling and numbness to the area. These side effects should resolve within a few days, before your next treatment. There is a very small risk of tendon rupture or ligament rupture and damage to the soft tissue.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have deemed this procedure to be safe. For this reason, every patient will be monitored before and after the treatments to discover how successful the outcome is. Studies have shown shockwave therapy be an effective treatment for a number of common issues such as plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, patella tendon and achilles tendon tendinopathy injuries. .
What happens during Shockwave Therapy?
The treatment will be given at our Cardiff Physiotherapy clinic. The physiotherapist carrying out the treatment will apply ultrasound gel to 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 and it delivers compressed air impulses through the ultrasound gel. Each treatment will take approximately 15 minutes.
Most patients do experience some pain during the procedure. You will be asked how much pain you are experiencing during the treatment and we will attempt to adjust the treatment to help manage this. The pain will stop at the end of your procedure.
What happens after 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) but you should avoid anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) and ice therapy, as these can interfere with the body’s natural healing process
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.
Is Shockwave covered by private medical insurance?
As Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT) is recommended by NICE, most private medical insurers will cover this treatment. However, it is essential that patients consult their insurance companies prior to their first appointment. We offer very competitive rates for those who are self-funding for Shockwave therapy... Please contact our head office for further information.
NICE Guideline recommendations
Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT) for refractory Achilles tendinopathy
Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT) for refractory Plantar Fasciitis
Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT) for refractory Tennis Elbow