Radial Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy


What is it?

It is a treatment involving shockwaves being applied to an affected area, resulting in a quicker healing time and increased pain relief during recovery.

What are the different types of shockwave therapy available?

Here at the foot clinic we have invested in the leading shockwave system. Produced by EMS, the Swiss dolorcast system has been used to set NICE guidelines for clinical standards of Shockwave treatment. It is the industry leader as it is a radial shockwave system.  There are two different types of shockwave treatments radial and focal. Studies have shown that there are different benefits to each, radial shockwave (which we use) is particularly effective in the superficial – mid layer soft tissue structures, which is what the vast majority of injuries that we see are.

(NICE are the governing body who decide which treatments are to be approved for the public.)

How does it work?

It is a handset containing a projectile which is fired repeatedly under pressure, so producing concentrated shockwaves through an applicator, which is in direct contact with the skin. These shockwaves have an effect at a relatively shallow, local level, and so there are few contraindications for this treatment and few side effects. In the area where the shockwaves are directed cavitation takes place in the tissues. It is clinically proven that when applied to injured tissues in a chronic state this mechanism stimulates pain reduction in nerves, increases blood flow to soft tissue in the area, and aids in creating a timely healing process in tissues by activating appropriate cells.

What conditions is it suitable for?

There are several conditions over the whole body which can be treated, at the foot clinic we focus on the lower limb including: Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, Patellar tendinopathy, Shin splints, and Trochanteric bursitis.

How many treatments are required?

Treatment plans are tailored to the individual. A minimum of 3 treatments will be required 2 weeks apart, with a review approximately a month after these sessions are completed.

Is it a permanent solution?

Shockwave therapy is often an important part of a treatment plan that aims to provide a permanent long term solution for a chronic condition.

Will it mean I no longer need to wear orthotics?

Shockwave therapy is most appropriate for those who have had a relevant condition for 6 months or more (at this point they are classed as chronic). At this stage, many individuals require a comprehensive approach to the rehabilitation of their condition, which may include: stretches/strengthening exercises, shockwave therapy, orthotics, manipulation, mobilisation, and 1:1 guided rehab sessions. It is likely a combination of two or more of these methods will be appropriate.

Does it work instantly?

Around 80% of patients who undertake shockwave therapy have success, and the majority of these patients will have instant short term pain relief from each session. The treatment requires multiple sessions to allow for maximum long term effectiveness.

Does it hurt? Due to the method of treatment, the application of shockwaves can be uncomfortable for this short period of time, although it is not invasive. Adjustments can be made for the individual to allow for individual tolerance levels, while maintaining the effectiveness of the treatment.


If you have any questions please give us a call and we will be happy to help.