First developed for the use of breaking up kidney stones, it was later found to be helpful for musculoskeletal disorders. This modality is a percussive machine which stimulates collagen/connective tissue. ECSWT helps to release scar tissue/adhesions, increase local blood flow and helps promotes tissue repair by way of "mechanotransduction" (a process whereby cells convert mechanical stimuli into biomechanical responses"). The mechanical energy "shockwave" triggers protein synthesis to promote tissue repair and remodeling.
Application for ECSWT
While shockwave can be used to relax tight muscles or before stretching to improve tissue mobility, its' primary use is on tendonopathies. Tendons typically do not have as good blood supply with slower "cell turn over" replacement rate than other tissues such as muscle, skin or even bone. This is why tendonitis or chronic tendonosis can often be difficult to treat. By way of mechanotransduction ECSWT helps to accelerate the healing process. Here at OSPT, we combine specific exercises with manual therapy and ECSWT and have seen excellent results.
Common tendon conditions treated with ECSWT
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Rotator Cuff
- Achilles Tendon
- Medial or Lateral Elbow
- DeQuervain's (lateral wrist/thumb)
- Trigger Finger