What is ESWT or Shock Wave Therapy?
Shock Waves are movements of extremely high pressure caused by, for example, an explosion, an earthquake or a plane breaking the sound barrier. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is the application of Shock Waves in medicine.
It is clinically proven that pressure waves, when applied to injured tissues, stimulate metabolic reactions and promote the initial phases of healing.
How does ESWT work?
When the clinician applies ESWT to injured tissue. Injuries are affected in three ways:
- Reduction of pain by reducing nerve impulses.
- Increase of blood circulation in surrounding tissue.
- Beginning of the healing process through stem cells activation.
Everyone has C nerve fibres in their body and when C nerve fibres are activated, the fibres release a substance called substance P. Substance P is responsible for causing pain and discomfort. ESWT activates C nerve fibres, initially causing a widespread release of substance P which causes discomfort during application. After a prolonged period of applying ESWT, C nerve fibres are disarmed and incapable of producing substance P.
A reduction in the production of substance P in tissue, leads to a reduction in pain.
This reduction of nerve fibre stimulation, together with increasing blood circulation and the activation of stem cells in the treated tissue, promotes recovery and can significantly reduce musculoskeletal pain.
How many sessions do I need?
At an initial consultation your podiatrist will discuss if ESWT is recommended and the frequency of visits. Generally, patients attend clinic at 1-2 week intervals for up to 6 sessions with a view to reviewing the outcome a few weeks after your final session.