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If you’re living with tendon problems in your foot, ankle or lower leg such as Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis (also known as heel spurs), private shockwave therapy may help to relieve the pain and other symptoms.
Also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Treatments, or ESWT, this treatment uses a special device to pass impulses of energy through the skin to your injury, regenerating blood vessels and speeding up the healing process.
You might be offered private shockwave therapy if you haven’t responded well enough to other treatments such as physiotherapy, orthotics (insoles or splints), rest and recuperation, a steroid injection, ice therapy or pain relief.
Your Consultant or Physiotherapist will put ultrasound gel on the injured area, then place the handpiece of the device on the gel. The handpiece sends compressed air pulses through the ultrasound gel. While shockwave therapy is minimally invasive, it may be a little noisy and uncomfortable, like a hard massage.
Each session will take about five minutes, with your treatment of up to six sessions lasting around 30 minutes. Your Consultant will advise whether you need to come back to repeat the treatment.
Shockwave therapy is carried out on an outpatient basis, so you’ll be able to get up and walk away straight after your treatment.
If you feel any discomfort after the treatment you can take over-the-counter painkillers (such as paracetamol) but don’t take anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) or ice therapy, as these can interfere with your body’s healing process in response to the shockwave therapy.
You’ll be able to return to your usual activities straight away and can return to work immediately. However, we'd advise you not to undertake any strenuous activity or high-impact exercise for 48 hours following the treatment.