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Tendinopathies part four - Shockwave therapy

Tendinopathies part four - Shockwave therapy

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For many years now, research has suggested the lack of efficacy in using “machines” to help manage tendon injuries. Some of you may be familiar with these machines such as therapeutic ultrasound, interferential and TENS.

A recent area of research for tendinopathy rehabilitation is in shockwave therapy, which is administered through a machine. Shockwave therapy is a non surgical treatment, and works by delivering impulses of energy, targeted to specific damaged tissues within the abnormal tendon. This increases the blood flow within the affected area, stimulating cell regeneration and healing, and decreasing local factors which can cause pain.

Here is some research supporting the use of shockwave therapy in tendon rehabilitation.

At BJC Health, we want to be at the forefront of providing best care. This means keeping up with the latest research.

As tendons are such a common injury I see in the clinic, we thought it was time we let our patient’s experience this new form of therapy. We have been lucky enough to trial a shockwave therapy machine in our clinic for the last few weeks.

Prior to the trial, I was definitely sceptical of this machine.

I have been taught that good physiotherapy practice is provided by performing a thorough biomechanical assessment, and correcting deficiencies with techniques such as manual therapy, taping and exercise prescription. Definitely not putting a “machine” on a patient!

By using the shockwave machine on patients, this required a change in my mindset.

Over the past few weeks I have been able to try the shockwave machine on a number of my patients presenting with tendinopathy injuries. Although eliciting some discomfort, most patients were willing to try the machine as an adjunct to all their other therapy.

I’m sure you are all wondering what the results were... and I have definitely been surprised by the outcomes!

It seems to me that most patients have been accelerated through the process of tendon rehabilitation (which can often be 3 months or longer).

Shockwave therapy will certainly not replace any of my other components of tendinopathy rehabilitation, but if it can be used as an adjunct to speed up the process, I feel it is a worthwhile investment for BJC Health.

I would love to hear if you have had any experience with shockwave therapy for managing your tendon injury?

You can check out the rest of the articles on tendinopathies here:

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