What is extracorporeal shockwave therapy?

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment that involves the use of pressure waves targeted to specific damaged tissues within the abnormal tendon. This is done to reduce pain and promote healing of the affected soft tissues. Shockwave therapy is known to reduce inflammation, break up scar tissue, increase blood flow and stimulate tissue healing.

Who is a suitable candidate for extracorporeal shockwave therapy?

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is a very effective treatment normally indicated for patients diagnosed with:

  • Plantar fasciitis: This is a condition where the web-like ligament in your foot, called the plantar fascia, becomes inflamed and causes stiffness in your heels.
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tennis elbow: This is an injury that is caused by repetitive strain, gripping or twisting your hand or wrist.
  • Achilles tendinopathy: This is a condition caused by injuries to the Achilles tendon that don't completely heal. The Achilles tendon is the tendon that connects the heel bone to the calf muscles in the foot.
  • Trochanteric bursitis: This is a condition where the fluid-filled sacs called the bursae, become inflamed and cause lateral hip pain.

ESWT may be a successful second-line treatment for patients who fail to respond to physiotherapy or other conservative treatments.

What does extracorporeal shockwave therapy entail?

Phillo Beukes will work with you to identify the painful area and apply a gel-like substance to help conduct the shock waves. A probe is pressed on to the affected area, and the shockwaves are administered through the skin. The impulses are then delivered through the skin as a shockwave, which spreads inside the injured tissue as a radial wave. These radial shockwaves prompt the body to respond naturally by increasing blood circulation, which increases the number of blood vessels and metabolism in the injured tissue.

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is an outpatient procedure and is normally performed at weekly intervals. Each therapy session takes approximately 20 minutes. The number of therapy session needed depends on each patient’s needs and condition.


“Take care of your body,
and your body will take care of you.”