Shock Wave Therapy


  1. Characteristics of musculoskeletal injuries
  2. What is shock wave therapy?
  3. Mechanism of action
  4. Problems treated with shock wave therapy


Characteristics of musculoskeletal injuries

Professional sport involves overloading and quick ‘wearing’ of the musculoskeletal system. Everyone who practises sport, whether it be professionally or recreationally, should be informed about the risk it involves. Everyone should regularly be checked out to rule out the risk of developing an injury. In the world of sport, one of the priorities is the time it takes to heal and return to training as quickly as possible. Using shock wave therapy makes this considerably easier.

In medicine, there are many different classifications of injuries. There are also many different factors that determine the classification of an injury, e.g.: symptoms, the area affected by it, healing time, grades etc. The risk of injury in sport is high and people who practise sport are also susceptible to injuries such as: damage to the structures of the knee joint, twisting or dislocating the ankle joint, muscle strain and bruising.


What is shock wave therapy?

Shock wave therapy is a very effective modern device used to help treat and rehabilitate in orthopaedics. It involves using pulses of mechanical energy that travel around the body like waves. The energy of the shock waves is directed to the affected areas in the body. It was first used in lithotripsy. The concentrated shock waves allowed for kidney stones to be removed without the need for surgery. Currently over 98% of all cases of kidney stones are removed using this method. Shock wave therapy has been used to treat pain connected with injury to the musculoskeletal system since the beginning of the 90s.


Mechanism of action

ESWT ( Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy) is externally applied, focused shock wave therapy that carries energy to places in the body affected by disease or pain. The shock waves created by the device are transmitted to the area where the pain is located, where they concentrate in a secondary focus. This causes a very quick rise in blood pressure in the tissue in a very short period of time.

The most important therapeutic effects that can be obtained thanks to shock wave therapy are:

  • stimulation of the tissue regeneration process
  • stimulation of collagen production
  • reducing muscle tension
  • dissolution of calcified fibroblasts
  • alleviating pain


Problems treated with shock wave therapy

It is possible to use shock wave therapy to treat the following problems:

  • calcaneal spurs,
  • tennis elbow: lateral epicondylitis,
  • golfer's elbow: medial epicondylitis, 
  • shoulder pain: impingement syndrome, 
  • chronic back and neck pain, 
  • myofascial trigger points
  • Osgood–Schlatter disease, 
  • snapping hip syndrome, 
  • jumper's knee,
  • medial tibial stress syndrome, 
  • Iliotibial band syndrome (runner's knee),
  • Achilles tendinitis. 

dr Jan Paradowski ©
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