Shockwave therapy is often recommended as a secondary conservative treatment choice for stubborn musculoskeletal conditions that have been unresponsive to standard conservative care. Some conditions that are commonly considered for shockwave therapy as a treatment option include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis/tendinopathy
- Patellar tendinopathy (jumper’s knee)
- Calcific and non-calcific shoulder tendinopathy
- Lateral and medial epicondylitis (tennis/golfer’s elbow)
Bone and cartilage related disorders such as nonunion of fractures (fractures that will not heal), osteonecrosis of the femoral head – lack of blood flow causing the death of bone cells – and knee osteoarthritis related bone marrow edema (BME) are also among the range of conditions that have the potential for positive outcomes from shockwave therapy. As mentioned earlier, because shockwave therapy is a relatively new treatment modality, there is a strong need for further high-level studies. In addition, the pain-relieving effect of shockwave on tendinopathies has been consistently observed in both case series and prospective randomized control trials in the published literature. With extremely limited reports of severe adverse effects as a result of ESWT, it is now considered a viable non-invasive procedure, which requires very little recovery time, and shows much promise as an alternative to surgical intervention in chronic musculoskeletal injuries.