What Is Shockwave Therapy?

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a safe, non-invasive procedure. ESWT uses high-pressure acoustic shockwaves that travel through the skin to break down targeted tissue and stimulate tissue repair. This form of treatment was initially developed to treat kidney stones but is now widely used around the world for the treatment of many musculoskeletal conditions.

How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?

Shockwave therapy kick starts the body’s natural healing mechanisms. This is believed to occur due to increased blood flow and the metabolic activity around the site of discomfort to accelerate the healing process resulting in:

  • Short term release substance P, resulting in less sensitivity to pain
  • Increasing circulation
  • Breaking down calcification deposits
  • Stimulating fibroblast (soft tissue cells) production – healing ligaments, tendons, muscles
  • Stimulating osteoblast (bone cells) production – healing bone Stimulating the “gate-control” mechanism for pain relief
  • Inhibiting Cox II Enzyme, producing an anti-inflammatory effect

What is shockwave therapy used to treat?

Shockwave therapy is frequently effective in the treatment of many chronic musculoskeletal conditions including:

  • Plantar Fasciosis
  • Achilles tendinopathy – mid and insertion
  • Calcification of the shoulder rotator cuff
  • Patella tendinopathy
  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and golfers elbow( medial epicondylitis)
  • Hamstring tendinopathy
  • Shin splints
  • Trigger points
  • Hip lateral aspect – Gluteus medius and Minimus
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Knee arthritis

What Does a Shockwave Therapy Session Involve?

After a simple examination to localise the region of discomfort, shockwaves are applied via a handpiece or applicator held against the skin. A contact gel is applied to the area, then a handheld probe is applied to the skin. The probe delivers the acoustic waves in a controlled and focused manner for typically 2-10 minutes per injured area.

Will I feel pain or discomfort during the session?

The initial phase of treatment can be uncomfortable or sometimes painful. This, however, indicates correct targeting of the area of concern. This is usually followed by numbness or heaviness in the area and the latter phase of the treatment feels more comfortable.

Will I feel pain or discomfort after the session

Most patients experience pain reduction and a greater range of movement immediately after the procedure. This improves over 24-48 hours.

How long does recovery take after the treatment?

Many patients get pain relief over the next 7-10 days. The number of treatments required depends on the area of injury, degree of injury and individual response to treatment.

How Many Treatment Sessions Does a Patient Require?

This varies but usually, patients require 3-4 treatment episodes, performed a week apart.

What can I expect after my Shockwave treatment?

You may feel some soreness which may intensify on the night of treatment. Simple analgesia and icing may be required to control this pain. There may also be some minor bruising in the treatment area.

How long should I rest for after my treatment?

You should rest from aggravating activities for 2-3 days after treatment as your doctor will discuss. Usually, this treatment is performed in collaboration with your associated allied health practitioner (e.g. physiotherapist, podiatrist, osteopath).

What are the side effects of Shockwave Therapy?

Most treatment and post-treatment side effects are limited to mild bruising, swelling, pain, numbness or tingling in the treated area, or discomfort. It is important to note that local bruising is uncommon and often minor for most treatments.

Contraindications of Shockwave Therapy Treatment:

Please inform your doctor if you have one of the following contraindications as this form of treatment may not be appropriate for you:

  • Patients with blood clotting disorders / on anticoagulants skin wound or acute local infection
  • Local cortisone injection (6 weeks)
  • Tumour in treatment area.
  • Cardiac Pacemaker
  • Pregnancy
  • Children (pre-puberty)

What Shockwave Therapy Machine is Used at Independent Sports Imaging?

We are proud to use the Dolorclast Radial Shockwave Machine. DolorClast was the inventor of radial shockwave therapy and since inventing the technology have continually strived to improve the quality of their machines. The majority of research quoted and carried out on radial shockwave therapy has been conducted using DolorClast machines.

How much does each treatment cost?

There is a cost per treatment session that is non-rebatable, plus there is an attendance/consultation fee from the doctor, which attracts a Medicare rebate. This will be discussed prior to the treatment being performed.

What results can I expect once my treatment is complete?

The human body is complex and different people respond differently to therapy. We cannot guarantee the effectiveness of treatment. We can only keep up-to-date with the latest quality scientific research and make this available and discuss this with you to make your decision.

Contact Our Clinic

For more information about our Shockwave Therapy treatment or any of our other services please contact our team on 03 9561 5155 or email us at

Additional Information

Download a Patient Information Brochure:
Patient Fact Sheet on Shock Wave Therapy

Download a comprehensive Review Article on Shock wave Therapy:

Therapeutic Uses of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy


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    Dr Berman is a dual specialist – Musculoskeletal Radiologist and Vein Specialist (Phlebologist)
    Please click on Specialist Vein Care to see dedicated website.