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Treatment of Achilles Tendinopathy using Shockwave Therapy

achilles shockwave therapy

With Achilles Tendinopathy, we know, unfortunately the pain does not always settle as we’d expect it to. It can be slow to recover. Even when the health professional and patient do everything right, it seems to be something that simply takes time to get better. Often difficult to treat, chronic tendinopathy is characterized by localized pain and pathological changes to a tendon. The condition affects athletes and nonathletes alike.

Physiotherapists see a lot of patients with persistent achilles tendon pain, making them the primary health professional involved with the management of these injuries. Amongst the many traditional physiotherapy treatment and rehabilitation techniques being used today, one relatively new, but increasingly popular treatment modality is shockwave therapy.

What exactly is shockwave therapy?

shockwave therapy ryde podiatry

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment modality that involves delivery of acoustic shock waves (mechanical energy) to injured soft tissues to reduce pain and promote healing. 

It is important to realise that shockwave therapy should not be considered to be a substitute to the traditional management, but rather an adjunct which can be integrated to the overall management of the patient.

The most common type of Achilles tendinopathy seen by physiotherapists are mid-portion, or ‘noninsertional Achilles tendinopathy’ (NAT).

Scientifically proven to treat Achilles Tendinopathy

A recent study by Abdelkader et al in conducted in 2021 looked at the use of shockwave therapy in the treatment of noninsertional achilles tendinopathy (NAT) when combined with eccentric calf strengthening exercises and a lower limb stretching program, versus the control group who only did the eccentric calf strengthening and lower limb stretching program. The results showed that after 4 weeks, where the study group received 1 shockwave therapy session per week, their pain score dropped from 8/10 to 1/10, compared to the control group’s pain score dropping from 8/10 to 7/10. After 16 months the study group still maintained a reduced pain score of 3/10 compared with the control group who were at 5/10.

The pain reduction was quite impressive, demonstrating the effectiveness of shockwave therapy as a useful additional treatment modality when combined with traditional management consisting of eccentric strengthening and lower limb stretching. 

What does a typical shockwave therapy treatment consist of?

shockwave therapy top ryde city podiatry

The typical shockwave treatment protocol is 1 treatment per week for 4-6 weeks. Individual results achieved depend on many factors including…

  • Age
  • Time from onset
  • Training background
  • Severity
  • Smoking
  • Weight

Is Your Achilles Tendinopathy Pain Holding You Back?

If you currently suffer from persistent pain in your achilles tendon, which is aggravated by walking, running or jumping, come in for an assessment by one of our physiotherapists at Hyperwell Health & Performance Top Ryde City and find out if you will benefit from shockwave therapy.

 

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