Is shockwave therapy effective in the treatment of Achilles tendinitis?
Tendons in your body are the connective tissues that connect muscles to your bones to produce desired movements and functions. Achilles’ tendon is the strongest in your body that attach lower leg muscles to your heel bone. Repetitive and vigorous physical activity may inflame and irritate the tendon, causing Achilles tendonitis.
You are likely to suffer from Achilles tendinitis if you are a sportsperson or a distant runner. Repeated and forceful activities such as jumping, running on uneven surfaces may injure the tendon, causing pain and swelling. You may not realize but wearing tight shoes, having less shock-absorbing sole may put pressure on the tendon. It can also be due to ageing that the tendon may degenerate and weaken becoming more prone to injury. You may experience severe pain at the back of your heel with warmth and swelling.
Achilles tendonitis are initially treated conservatively to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. Giving a rest to your leg, preferring healthy lifestyles, and applying appropriate sports techniques may help treat and prevent Achilles tendinitis.
Shock wave therapy is another treatment option for Achilles tendinitis. It delivers high and low energy waves into the tissues in the form of pressurized air. The shock wave applicator is directly placed over the back of your heel where there is a pain, with a coupling gel.
The tendon is a thick taut band where blood supply is inadequate; it is the reason why the healing of the tendon takes long. However, low energy shock wave therapy helps to treat Achilles tendinitis. Shock waves penetrate through the layers of skin and muscles; it gets circulated in the region of pain. The pressurized air cause repeated small tears in the muscle fibres and the tendon that help initiate the healing process and formation of new blood vessels.
The healing process begins to repair the damaged tissue, and the new blood vessels improve the blood supply which carries rich oxygen and nutrients required for repair, resulting in reduced pain, inflammation, swelling with improved function of your foot.
Low energy shock wave therapy is a simple, painless procedure, whereas high energy requires anesthesia. Your physiotherapist may use low energy to treat your Achilles tendinitis when conservative treatment does not improve your condition or as a give it a shot if your pain is severe and you are likely to undergo a surgical procedure.