Physical Therapist Carmel | Pilates Therapy | Movement Therapist

Conditions That Most Benefit From Shockwave Therapy


Are you tired of living with constant pain that limits your mobility and disrupts your active lifestyle? With its potential to reduce pain, promote tissue healing, and improve overall function, shockwave therapy may be the key to helping you step pain-free and comfortably into your daily activities.

Shockwave therapy has emerged as a valuable tool for its effectiveness in treating a range of musculoskeletal conditions. It’s important to note that individual responses to this therapy may vary, and not everyone may be an ideal candidate. 

Let’s explore what shockwave therapy is and how it can help individuals with different musculoskeletal conditions regain functional movement, range of motion, and overall quality of life.

What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), is a non-invasive medical procedure that utilizes high-energy, specialized sound waves applied over the affected area to stimulate the body’s natural healing process in damaged or painful areas.

There are two types of Shockwave Therapy known as focused and radial. The key difference is in how the shockwaves are delivered and the depth to which they penetrate.

Focused shockwave therapy provides a more concentrated and deeper treatment, suitable for targeted areas, while radial shockwave therapy has a broader and more superficial impact, making it suitable for conditions nearer to the surface. The choice between the two depends on the specific characteristics of the condition being treated and the desired therapeutic outcomes.

Here are 6 conditions that shockwave therapy may be suitable for.


1. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions that develops due to inflammation and micro-tears in the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes. The standard symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain, typically upon waking in the morning or after long periods of rest, standing, or walking. 

Some risk factors for developing this condition include: 

  • Aging,
  • Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue,
  • Foot mechanics (e.g., flat feet),
  • Obesity, and
  • Occupations that involve extended periods of walking or standing.

If left untreated, plantar fasciitis can lead to various complications and significantly  impact your quality of life. While some individuals may experience mild symptoms that resolve on their own, others may develop chronic and more severe issues, making it difficult to engage in daily activities or exercise. Chronic inflammation and stress on the plantar fascia can lead to further damage to the tissue, resulting in more challenging orthopedic conditions (such as Achilles tendinitis).

Orthopedic shockwave therapy has been proven effective in reducing pain and promoting healing in individuals suffering from plantar fasciitis. By delivering shockwaves to the affected area, this therapy helps stimulate blood flow, increase tissue regeneration, and break down scar tissue, ultimately alleviating pain and improving mobility.


2. Patellar Tendinopathy

Patellar tendinopathy, also known as jumper’s knee, is a painful and often debilitating condition that affects the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). It’s a common injury among athletes, especially those involved in sports that require repetitive jumping or explosive movements (such as basketball, volleyball, or gymnastics).

The soft tissue injury treatment mostly focuses on conservative therapies (such as rest or over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)), which, in some cases, may be enough to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation. 

Other promising methods that have been used to address the persistent pain and promote tendon healing are physical therapy (exercises aimed at strengthening the quadriceps and surrounding muscles) and shockwave therapy (by targeting the damaged tissue with high-energy shockwaves).


3. Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that primarily occurs when the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus), becomes damaged or degenerated due to overuse, repetitive strain, falling from a height, or stepping into a hole. As a result, you may often experience pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased mobility in the affected area.

Treating Achilles tendinopathy often means reducing or modifying activities that put excessive strain on the Achilles tendon. Avoiding activities that involve repetitive jumping or running and resting the affected area can help prevent further damage and promote healing.

Aside from physical therapy, another effective soft tissue injury treatment option that can help you recover and get back to your daily activities pain-free includes focused shockwave therapy. Focused shockwave therapy can stimulate the body’s natural healing process in damaged tissues, providing much-needed pain relief and enhanced overall function.


4. Gluteal Tendinopathy

Gluteal tendinopathy occurs when the tendons that attach the gluteal muscles to the hip bones become damaged or degenerated, often due to overuse/underuse, trauma, or aging. Individuals with gluteal tendinopathy may experience moderate to severe hip pain, tenderness, and limited mobility, particularly in the hip and buttock area.

Most people will eventually get better without treatment. This might mean avoiding activities that involve repetitive hip movements, heavy lifting, or prolonged sitting. Applying ice to the affected area can also help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. However, this process may take up to a year. 

By strengthening the gluteal muscles and improving hip stability, physical therapy exercises can help ease symptoms and regain mobility within eight weeks. Nevertheless, some individuals may need further interventions, such as focused shockwave therapy. 

By encouraging increased blood flow to the injured tendon, shockwave therapy has emerged as a non-invasive tendon injury treatment. This improved circulation delivers essential nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissue, promoting tissue repair and regeneration.


5. Shoulder Tendinopathy

Shoulder tendinopathy is a condition that usually results from overuse or repetitive strain on any tendon in the shoulder (e.g., the rotator cuff tendons or biceps tendon). It can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the shoulder joint, making it challenging to perform everyday tasks and activities.

One of the initial steps in treating shoulder tendinopathy is reducing or modifying activities that exacerbate symptoms. Applying ice packs to the affected shoulder can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain, while heat therapy (such as warm compresses) can relax tight muscles and increase blood flow to the area. However, with these treatments, the pain may take several months to resolve. 

Ongoing shockwave therapy sessions can help form new blood vessels, stimulate collagen production, and reduce chronic inflammation, resulting in improved mobility, decreased pain, higher range of motion, and increased strength.


6. Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow Tendinopathy

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) are common overuse injuries that affect the tendons in the forearm. Tennis elbow typically results from repetitive wrist and forearm movements (such as those seen in racquet sports, typing, painting or plumbing). It causes pain on the outer side of the elbow and can radiate down the forearm.

Golfer’s elbow, on the other hand, is characterized by pain on the inner side of the elbow and often arises from repetitive gripping, lifting, or swinging motions. Despite its name, it can affect individuals involved in various activities, not just golfers.

Both conditions can cause significant pain and discomfort, making it challenging to carry out everyday tasks and enjoy your favorite sports. When self-care steps such as rest, ice, and pain relievers don’t ease the symptoms, physical therapy or even shockwave therapy might be the next step. Focused shockwave therapy can stimulate the healing process in these tendons, reduce pain, and improve grip strength, allowing you to return to your sports and daily activities faster.


Book an Appointment at Nexus for a Pain-Free Lifestyle

If you’re dealing with the challenges of one of these conditions and are seeking a non-invasive, effective solution, consider focused shockwave therapy at Nexus Studio, Carmel, California.

We will evaluate your specific condition and determine whether this treatment is a suitable option for you. 

Focused shockwave therapy at Nexus typically involves a series of sessions administered over several weeks. During each session, a trained physical therapist uses a specialized device to deliver targeted shockwaves to the affected area. While you may experience a certain level of discomfort during the procedure (*dependent in part on the person, their injury, and whether the damaged tissues are close to a bone), it is generally well-tolerated. You can often return to your daily activities shortly after treatment.

Contact us to discuss how your condition may benefit from shockwave therapy.