Shockwave Therapy for Tendon Pain

Posted on 
July 6, 2023

Shockwave Therapy for Tendon Pain

Overuse or sudden stress on a tendon can cause pain and swelling that interferes with your daily life. It’s common for the pain to worsen as you move, which can restrict your ability to participate in activities you enjoy, from sports to hobbies such as gardening.

Unfortunately, tendon pain can also be complicated to resolve. It doesn’t always respond to traditional treatment options, such as physical therapy, oral medications and modifications to physical activity.

When other options fail, your physician may suggest shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shockwave therapy or ESWT, to help heal your injury. Shockwave therapy transmits low-energy sound waves to the tendon or soft tissue that’s causing you pain.

“It works by desensitizing the tendon and helping it remodel and heal,” says Dr. Michael Del Busto, a rehabilitation and sports medicine physician at Forté specializing in shockwave therapy and other minimally invasive procedures. “The hope is that patients will experience a long-term benefit.”

Benefit: Helps heal nagging injuries

One of the biggest draws to shockwave therapy is its ability to help heal chronic, nagging injuries.

As shockwaves pass through the skin, they increase blood flow to the injured area. This speeds up the body’s natural healing process and is often helpful in resolving issues that patients have been dealing with for weeks, months or even years.

Benefit: Non-surgical procedure with little-to-no downtime

Additional benefits of shockwave therapy include being an outpatient procedure with minimal downtime. While healing from surgery can take weeks, the non-invasive nature of shockwave therapy means patients can return to work immediately, as long as they don’t engage in strenuous activities or high-impact exercise for the first 48 hours after the procedure.

“You’re a good candidate for shockwave therapy if you need to take the next step in treatment but want to avoid something invasive and don’t want any downtime for your sport or lifestyle,” says Del Busto.

What to expect from your treatments

Shockwave therapy typically takes about 5-10 minutes per treatment, with an average of three treatment sessions each scheduled a week apart. A physician will put ultrasound gel on the injured area and then use a hand-held device, like an ultrasound wand, over the gel.

“Most people experience mild pain or discomfort during the procedure, which we can help manage by changing the device settings,” says Del Busto. “Even if patients have some discomfort during treatment, they often walk away feeling better.”

Following the procedure, patients may experience mild side effects, such as pain, redness, bruising, swelling and numbness in the affected area. These issues typically resolve within a week and can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen.

Watch below to learn more from Drs. Matthew Negaard and Michael Del Busto about shockwave therapy

Is shockwave therapy right for you?

The team at Forté is specially trained to offer shockwave therapy as a non-surgical option for safely treating your tendon pain. To learn more about shockwave therapy and decide whether it’s right for you, request an appointment online or call 317.817.1200.

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