Extracorporeal shockwave therapy or ESWT is a specialist treatment for chronic and painful musculoskeletal conditions.

What is Extracorporeal shockwave therapy?

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy or ESWT is a specialist treatment for chronic and painful musculoskeletal conditions. It is a procedure where shockwaves are passed through the skin to the injured area, using a special device. The shock waves are mechanical and not electric; they are audible, low energy sound waves which work by increasing blood flow to the injured area. This helps to accelerate the body’s healing process.

At Newcastle Foot Clinic the team are highly trained in administering ESWT and use state-of-the-art equipment. We have produced excellent results in alleviating pain and expediting the healing process in patients who have chronic conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinopathy that have not responded to conventional treatments. It is a non-invasive treatment that is carried out in our clinics and can offer relief from pain and other symptoms.


Our extracorporeal shockwave treatment is indicated for;

  • - Heel, Foot and Ankle pain.
  • - Plantar Fasciitis also known as Policeman’s Heel, Runners Heel.
  • - Tendon Injuries such as Achilles Tendonitis, Patella Tendonopathy.
  • - Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome also known as Shin Splints.
  • - Delayed bone healing and Stress Fractures.
  • - Morton’s neuroma.


What are the risks/side effects?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have deemed this procedure to be safe although you will experience some pain during the treatment, but this should be tolerable and will be monitored throughout your treatment. Following the treatment, you may experience bruising, swelling and numbness to the area that has been treated. These side effects should resolve within a week, before your next treatment.


Am I suitable?

Before your treatment begins you will be asked to fill in a consent form and medical questionnaire. You will be deemed unsuitable for ESWT if you:

  • - Are pregnant.
  • - Have a blood clotting disorder.
  • - Are under the age of 18.
  • - Have been diagnosed with bone cancer.
  • - Have a cardiac pacemaker or other cardiac device.
  • - Have an infection in your foot or a history of tendon or ligament rupture.
  • - Have had any steroid injections in the previous 12 weeks.

These will be discussed with you by a member of the team when the treatment is offered. If you have any further questions, or would like any further information, please let us know.


What should I do before my treatment?

You will need to ensure that you are available for the full course of your treatment. You should refrain from taking none steroidal, anti-inflammatory or anticoagulant medication (for example ibuprofen or aspirin) for two weeks before your first treatment. You can eat and drink normally before your treatment. Please wear comfortable loose clothing as you will be asked to adjust your position on the couch for the treatment on different parts of your legs/feet.


What will happen during my treatment?

You will be asked to lie on your front. We will put some ultrasound gel on the injured area and then place the hand piece of the device over the surface of the skin and the gel. The ESWT is delivered using the hand piece and it delivers compressed air impulses through the ultrasound gel. Each treatment will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Most patients  experience some pain during the procedure, you will be asked how much pain you are experiencing during the treatment and we will attempt to adjust the treatment to help manage this. The pain will stop at the end of your procedure.


What will happen after my treatment?

After the treatment you will be able to get up and walk straight away. If you do experience discomfort following the shockwave treatment you can take over the counter painkillers (such as paracetamol) but you should avoid anti-inflammatory medication (such as aspirin and ibuprofen) and ice therapy, as these can interfere with the body’s healing process.