At Propel Physiotherapy, we often recommend our clients try shockwave therapy for Achilles tendinopathy rehabilitation. Due to its low-intensity nature, treatment can be observed with little, to no, side effects.
Shockwave Therapy is a non-invasive therapeutic device that works by delivering acoustic waves to the site of injury. The machine uses kinetic energy to reach the target area via a small applicator at the head of the SWT handle. This energy penetrates the skin sending a radial wave as deep as 7 centimetres into the body, with the highest pressure felt at the surface of the body.
What is Achilles Tendinopathy?
Achilles tendinopathy is an injury caused by over-use or increased repetitive stress on the tissue connecting your heel and your calf (the Achilles tendon).
Symptoms & Risk Factors of Achilles Tendinopathy
Symptoms of achilles tendinopathy include morning pain, pain along the back of the heel that increases with activity, intermittent swelling, pain the day after exercise and possible thickening of the tendon.
Your risk of developing Achilles tendinopathy is increased by factors such as: age, increasing physical activity drastically, being male, having a flat foot, or having certain medical conditions. In any case where you have decreased ankle flexibility or stiffness through the Achilles tendon, you can increase your risk for tendinopathy pains.
Achilles Tendinopathy Treatment
Treatment options can include: pain medications, physical therapy involving exercise and orthotics, and the “R.I.C.E” method as conservative options, while SWTT and surgery are considered non-conservative.
Registered kinesiologist Sabrina La Rosa demonstrates shockwave therapy on the achilles region of her client.
SWTT, as a non-invasive treatment option, has been shown to decrease pain and improve function in recent studies. In a systematic review by Al-Abbad et al., 2013, SWTT has been shown to produce short-term pain-relieving effects and long-term increased blood flow and inflammation, both of which improve outcome measures.
Positive effects of SWTT on Achilles tendinopathy can occur within 3-4 sessions, with approximately 1 week between sessions, suggesting that in most cases (client-dependent) positive results can take place fairly quickly, especially when adding physiotherapist guided exercises (Table 2, Al-Abbad et al., 2013).
As a non-invasive treatment to supplement a physical therapy program, shockwave therapy for achilles tendinopathy is a great option. By completing a regime based on eccentric exercises and shockwave therapy, Propel Physiotherapy can help you return to a normal, pain-free lifestyle if you experience Achilles tendinopathy.
Shockwave therapy can be effective for all kinds of injuries, both chronic and acute. Here are more common conditions we treat with shockwave therapy at Propel Physiotherapy.
Al-Abbad, H., & Simon, J. V. (2013). The Effectiveness of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy on Chronic Achilles Tendinopathy. Foot & Ankle International, 34(1), 33–41. doi: 10.1177/1071100712464354
Kadakia, A. R. (2010, June). Achilles Tendinitis – OrthoInfo – AAOS.
CONNECT WITH SABRINA!
Bootcamps at Propel Physiotherapy Etobicoke are led by kinesiologist Sabrina La Rosa. Sabrina incorporates full-body exercises, adapted for people of all levels of fitness into her sessions. Participants work on improving cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness in a variety of movements, all while listening to some good music to improve morale.