shockwave and ultrasound

Shockwave Therapy – is it for me?

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is an effective, evidence-based, non-surgical treatment for chronic musculoskeletal conditions (longer than 3 months).

shockwave therapy

EMS Shockwave Machine with presets for MSK conditions

If conservative treatment (i.e. steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications, splints, braces, orthotics, or physiotherapy) has not proven effective, then ESWT may be a good option for you

Is it expensive?

As far as we know we offer the best price for shockwave therapy in Southampton and Eastleigh (please advise us if this is not the case).

Each therapy session (even an initial assessment + therapy) costs £65.00. We also offer almost 10% discount should you wish to have a block of sessions. 

How long is the treatment?

The initial consultation and therapy takes around 30 minutes. We will talk to you about your injury, take medical history, discuss appropriate exercises and eventually provide shockwave therapy.

You will also have an opportunity to ask questions. Follow up sessions take 15-20 minutes, and you need to receive at least 3-5 sessions at 7-10 days intervals. 

Is it painful?

It may be but it all depends on your threshold of pain and how acute (painful) your condition is. 

Is the shockwave noisy?

Yes, it is a knocking sound. In the video below, patient is receiving shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis.

Shall I have a diagnostic scan before therapy?

Not necessarily, but we often recommend having one. It really all depends. An ultrasound scan that we offer in clinic helps us confirm diagnosis and rule out other potential causes of pain. It is a discussion worth having during your initial appointment.

ultrasound scan

ultrasound scan can provide a lot of useful information about your injury

For instance there are clear signs and clinical features of plantar fasciitis, and we may offer you shockwave therapy without scanning the sole of the foot. Diagnosing shoulder pain is not that straightforward, however, so we would recommend a scan. Call us if in doubt. 

How does Shockwave Therapy work?

Shockwave speeds up healing and recovery times. Using a handpiece device, a wave of energy is applied outside the body, directly over the affected area. The “shockwave” energy creates microscopic injuries which stimulates a cellular response inside the body to repair the damaged tissues and regenerate healthy ones.

Can I work afterwards?

You do not have to take time off work while receiving or after therapy

What injuries can be treated with Shockwave Therapy?

  • Plantar fasciopathy ( heel pain)
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Patellar and hamstring tendinopathy
  • Hip bursitis and gluteal tendinopathy
  • Calcific tendinopathy of the shoulder
  • Tennis and golfer`s elbow

What are benefits?

  • Non-invasive
  • Reduces pain
  • Increases joint mobility
  • Stimulates the natural body healing process
  • Can be an alternative to surgery

Shock wave therapy precipitates healing by increasing blood flow, activating metabolism, stimulating removal of calcified fibroblasts (cells of the connective tissue) and promoting collagen production. It also reduces muscle tension.

The benefits of SWT include short duration of treatment and a relatively low number of appointments – in most cases just three to five treatments yield results. Patients quickly regain mobility without experiencing side effects, their pain subsides and blood vessels around the targeted area are stimulated to grow.

How many treatments do I need?

While significant benefits can be achieved in some patients after the first visit, other patients may require additional treatments, especially if the damage is extensive or very deep. In those cases, multiple treatments can be administered at about a week apart to promote and continue the healing processes over time. Studies recommend between 3 and 5 sessions. Most patients experience maximum healing benefits within about two months of treatment. Shockwave therapy doesn’t require any downtime, so patients are able to enjoy their normal activities throughout their course of treatment.

Is shockwave therapy a good choice for all patients?

Because it’s non-invasive, has a success rate of 70-80% for most musculoskeletal conditions and promotes natural healing, shockwave therapy can be ideal for most patients. Prior to therapy, a thorough assessment will be performed to determine if a different course of care might be a better option.

Is there clinical evidence supporting use of shockwave?

There is a significant body of evidence supporting the use of shockwave therapy in many common conditions.

The use of shockwave therapy for tendon issues is well supported by theNational Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care in both NHS and private practice.

It provides evidence based recommendations to guide best practice within healthcare. NICE have produced guidelines for the use of shockwave in the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy,plantarfascitis and calcific tendinopathy.

Find more information on ultrasound therapy here.

Shockwave therapy  – research

More about Shockwave Therapy

A method of increasing popularity and availability, shock wave therapy is used to treat musculoskeletal pain. It can be particularly useful in cases of pain that lasts for over three months.

In my practice, I use it often to treat heel spurs or tendon issues.

Shockwave and its beginnings 

Historical events were crucial to the discovery of the impact of shock waves on human body. Underwater bomb explosions during World War II generated waves capable of traveling over distance and damaging lung tissue in those within their range of impact.

The first medical application of shock waves dates back to the 1950s. Between 1968 and 1971 animal-based studies were conducted in Germany and led to shock waves being utilized to treat kidney stones. Then, in 1985, they were also used in cases of cholelithiasis (gallstones).

Around the same time, data started emerging on the benefits of shock wave therapy in bone fractures (through its impact on osteoblast activation). The first device (called Ossatron) that allowed for SWT application in orthopedic cases was introduced in 1993. Soon after, more research was published confirming the advantages of SWT in tennis elbow and heel spurs.

What are shockwaves?

Shock wave is an acoustic wave produced as a result of a significant increase in pressure. In physiotherapy it is typically applied onto the site of chronic pain.

What conditions shockwave can be used in?

SWT is currently used in tendinitis, heel spur, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, jumper’s knee, hip and shoulder pain, muscle strains, post-injury recovery, enthesopathies, tendinopathies, and rotator cuff injuries.

It is important to mention that the number of shock wave therapy applications  continuously grows, especially in sports medicine. Sometimes SWT can be considered as an interesting alternative to surgery.

As stated before, the most satisfactory outcomes of SWT are seen in tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, heel spur and shoulder pain. What’s more, these treatments are minimally invasive in nature, relieve pain and stimulate soft tissue regeneration.

Shockwave treatment regime

What is the treatment like? A specialized device generates shock waves and appropriate pressure within approximately 10 nanoseconds. After the transducer is placed over the targeted site, the waves penetrate up to a few centimetres into the surrounding tissues.

Different transducers can be used based on the character and severity of the patient’s condition. A single treatment lasts approximately five to ten minutes. Five of those treatments are typically performed in four- to seven-day intervals but this number can be adjusted individually based on the assessment of the patient.

Depending on the type of condition being treated, modifications can be made to the type of waves, impulse frequency and penetration depth.


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