What is Extracorporeal Shock Wave therapy?
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a term used to describe how a shock wave enters the tissues of the body. It simply means the wave is created outside of the body and is aimed through the skin into painful area. This treatment is an effective replacement to surgery of most foot and ankle conditions. It is a sound therapy that stimulates healing by drumming the tissues with high pressure waves, which differs from the larger shock wave machines used in urology to break up kidney stones where the wave is established within the body. ESWT is the treatment of choice for extremity pain and is the device used at the Wimbledon Clinic.
How does shockwave therapy (eswt) work?
"Shock Wave Treatment or ESWT stimulates your natural healing process by increasing blood supply and breaks up calcium deposits on the tendon."
A high-speed sound wave generated within the applicator, then penetrates through the skin and into the area of pain. The characteristic migration of this wave is spherical and is often described as a 'drop in a pond' wave. This wave stimulates the tissues as it migrates in a radial (circular) fashion. As the sound wave ripples through the tissue it stimulates blood vessel production and scatters a blood factor called substance 'P'. The extra blood allows healing to start at the area of complaint while the scattering of substance ‘P’ causes a relief from your discomfort. Another aspect is muscle relaxation and collapse of muscular adhesions "trigger points". This will also delivers some ease to the pain and can even lead to increase in movement.
Previously, before Shock Wave Therapy most relief came from foot pain management (orthotics, resting and icing) meaning people would often have to spend a lot of time icing while reducing activity levels. As you can imagine this approach was not effective, as it meant putting your life on hold. Athletes and sporty people, in particularly, suffered from delaying in their fitness goals, while patients who overweight often had issues, as their weight was detrimental to their recovery. Having to reduce activity because of foot pain was a huge negative factor in recovery results. The patient became unhappy and weight factor became worse. Although weight will always be an issue, Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy allows the patient to reduce pain so they can in turn become actively involved in changing factors that caused problem. ESWT or Shock Wave Therapy works on the causes of on-going pain. This is probably why Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy gets results that are comparable to surgery without any invasion or down-time.
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