Focused shockwave therapy (FSWT) is a non-invasive medical treatment that uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing and reduce pain in soft tissue injuries. This innovative treatment method has gained significant popularity in recent years due to its effectiveness and minimal side effects. Let’s take a closer look at FSWT and explore its benefits, uses, and potential risks.
What is Focused Shockwave Therapy?
Focused shockwave therapy uses high-pressure sound waves to stimulate the body's natural healing response. FSWT is a non-invasive procedure that uses a device that emits shock waves directly to the affected area of the body. The shock waves create micro-trauma in the soft tissue, which triggers the body's natural healing response and accelerates the healing process.
This type of therapy is most commonly used to treat conditions like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, tennis elbow, and shoulder tendinopathy.
How Does FSWT Work?
The focused shock waves penetrate the skin and reach the deep tissues of the affected area. These waves create micro-trauma in the tissues, which stimulates the release of growth factors and the production of new blood vessels. The new blood vessels help to increase blood flow to the area, which aids in the healing process.
The shock waves also stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that is essential for the strength and flexibility of soft tissues like tendons, ligaments, and muscles. This increased production of collagen helps to strengthen and repair damaged tissues, reducing pain and improving function.
Benefits of FSWT
There are several benefits of FSWT that make it an attractive treatment option for many patients. One of the main benefits is its non-invasive nature, which means that there is no need for surgery or general anesthesia. This makes FSWT a safer and less expensive option than surgery for many patients.
Another benefit of FSWT is its effectiveness. Studies have shown that FSWT can provide significant pain relief and improved function for patients with chronic soft tissue injuries. The treatment is also associated with minimal side effects and a short recovery time.
Uses of FSWT
FSWT is used to treat a wide range of soft tissue injuries, including:
- Plantar Fasciitis - FSWT can help to reduce pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. This condition is common among runners and people who spend long hours standing or walking.
- Achilles Tendinopathy - This condition is characterized by pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. FSWT can help to promote healing and reduce pain in this area.
- Tennis Elbow - Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. FSWT can help to stimulate the healing process in the affected area, reducing pain and improving function.
- Shoulder Tendinopathy - FSWT can be used to treat tendinopathy in the rotator cuff tendons, which can cause shoulder pain and weakness. The therapy can help to improve function and reduce pain in this area.
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- Heel spurs and other calcifications - shockwave therapy helps to stimulate the bone cells responsible for building up and breaking down bone. Over a number of treatments the pain and inflammation in the area should reduce.
- Bone non-unions - this is when a broken bone doesn’t heal properly. Shockwave has been shown to restart the healing process to help bones heal.
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