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Cork Independent

Lifestyle & Leisure

An answer to tissue issues

Thursday, 23rd November, 2017 9:11am

Shockwave therapy is a revoluntary treatment for soft tissue injuries, says Sheila Barrett, a chartered physiotherapist. She explains how it is a non-invasive, surgical procedure that uses mechanical shockwaves to treat chronic injuries.

“Shockwave therapy (SWT) converts a chronic inflammatory condition into an acute inflammatory condition (pro-flammatory) and so the body’s own healing process is accelerated,” says Sheila.

“The same technology has been used to break up kidney stones without surgery (lithotripsy) and has now been adapted to treat soft tissue problems that have been resistant to more conventional methods of treatment. Research studies have shown an approximately 80 per cent success rate once all underlying issues are addressed. The biological changes allow the tissue to heal resulting in pain relief and return to normal function,” she says.

What are the advantages of SWT?

SWT offers two main advantages over traditional surgical methods: fewer potential complications and a faster return to normal activity.

How does SWT work?

* The problem area is identified

* The area is marked

* Conduction gel is applied

* Shockwaves are administered

Treatment takes approximately 10-15 minutes. No anaesthetic is required, and while treatment can sometimes be uncomfortable, Sheila says it can be modified to suit the patient’s pain tolerance. Normally three-four treatments are necessary at weekly intervals.

Conditions effectively treated with SWT include:

• Plantar fasciitis

• Achilles tendonopathy

• Patellar tendonopathy/jumper’s knee

• Tennis and golfers elbow (medial and lateral epicondylalgia)

• Shoulder calcification-frozen shoulder/tendonopathy/impingement

• Greater trochanteric pain syndrome/IT band syndrome

• Neck and back pain

• Muscle tears/tightness/strain

• Poor bone healing


SWT may not be suitable for you if you have/are:

• pregnant

•taking antiplatelets excluding aspirin 75mgs (e.g. egclopidogrel) or anticoagulants (e.g. war-farin)

• a blood clotting disorder

• under the age of 18

• cancer

• osteoporosis

• a cardiac pacemaker or other cardiac device

• an infection in the injured area

• had steroid injections in the area in the last 12 weeks

If you have any queries contact Sheila Barrett & Associates at East Cork Physiotherapy, Balance and Acupuncture Clinic and speak to one of the chartered physiotherapists for further information on 021-4633455 or email

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