Radial shockwave therapy, also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, is a relatively new form of treatment spreading across the medical fields. It utilizes a high-energy, low-frequency (1-16 Hz or beats per second) acoustical pressure wave to cause changes in a target tissue. It has had excellent results treating multiple musculoskeletal injuries including tendonitis, muscle strains, trigger points, tennis and golfers elbow, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and calcific tendonitis.
At Flaman physiotherapy we utilize the Zimmer enPuls 2.0 unit which utilizes an electromagentic system to produce the oscillating shockwaves as opposed to the large and noisy compressor systems of many other units. Information on this specific unit is available online here.
Radial shockwave therapy is thought to initiate its changes in the body by normalizing muscle tone through stimulation of the Golgi apparatus and muscle spindle within the muscle tendon, pain overlay/desensitization based on the gate control theory of pain response, stimulation of cellular activity and changes in cell membrane permeability caused by direct mechanical stress on the cell wall, and reinforcement of the mechnical structure of cells through application of stress to the limit of its stress handling capacity.
Radial shockwave therapy may be painful at first, but is well tolerated with the pain subsiding relatively quickly and often it has immediate and lasting effects after only one session. Usually a course of 3-6 sessions one or two times per week, depending on the area to be treated, will be sufficient to see dramatic results in the injured area.