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Shock Wave Therapy

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Evolution of Shock Wave Therapy

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) involves a machine which generates a current outside the body, using a spark in water or an electromagnetic coil. This current is then transmitted, via a special pad, into the tissue of the affected body part. Urologists have used this technology for kidney stones to successfully avoid surgery by applying current to break the stones into smaller pieces that can pass out of the ureters. into the bladder, and out of the body. Orthopaedic surgeons investigated this technology to treat chronic soft tissue and bone conditions, such as patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee), epicondylitis (tennis elbow), and plantar fasciitis. The current disrupts the tiny nerves that signal pain, and then stimulates healing by increasing the density of blood vessels in the area after treatment. ESWT is viewed as a second line treatment for plantar fasciitis, used in patients who have had failure with shoe inserts and stretching alone. The FDA has approved ESWT for use in patients with plantar fasciitis symptoms for six months or more. Use of this technology may or may not be covered by insurance.

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