Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)


What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave Therapy or Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ECSWT) is an innovative, cost-effective, evidence-based treatment for tendon pain and other conditions throughout the body. It involves the use of a single acoustic pressure wave to bring pain relief and healing to the muscle and skeletal structures. The main benefits of shockwave are pain relief and restoration of function.

It is more commonly used in the lower limbs, ankles and feet. This form of treatment can stimulate the body’s natural healing process. and accelerate the healing of soft tissue injuries. This is achieved by boosting circulation and providing immediate pain relief.

ECSWT is a safe, non-invasive treatment, with convincing evidence for its effectiveness from a large body of research and clinical trials.

How does Shockwave Therapy work?

Sometimes referred to as the ‘mechanism of action’, ECSWT uses a specialist device to deliver acoustic energy through the skin to the injured part of the body. These shockwaves are mechanical and not electric. They are audible, low-energy sound waves, which increase the blood flow to the injured area.

ECSWT has two main modes of action to help persistent tendon pain. Firstly, the shockwaves work to desensitise nerve endings. In many instances, this will bring about an immediate reduction in the symptoms of pain. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the shockwaves cause controlled microtrauma to the tissues. This will activate and accelerate the body’s natural healing response. In effect, the shockwaves allow the body to heal any soft tissue problems in that immediate area by increasing blood circulation and metabolism.

Main objectives:

  • Reduction in sensation of chronic pain.
  • Blocking of neurogenic inflammation.
  • Activation of mesenchymal stem cells (bone cells), thereby induction of healing.
  • Improved blood circulation in the treated tissue.

Clinical evidence supporting the use of Shockwave Therapy

The use of Shockwave Therapy for tendon issues is well supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE have produced guidelines for the use of shockwave in the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis and calcific tendinopathy.

What Shockwave Therapy treatments involve

Shockwave Therapy is simple and easy to carry out. The therapist will apply a small amount of gel to the site of injury, which will help the shockwave to penetrate the area. After this, the shockwave is applied by slightly pushing a small, hand-held device onto the skin.

Many report the treatment as painless. However, some people may find the treatment mildly uncomfortable. Your therapist will discuss with you the proposed plan to achieve best possible outcomes. Furthermore, they can tailor the settings throughout treatment to keep it as comfortable as possible.

Shockwave is carried out by our team of physiotherapists. Before recommending this form of treatment, we will first carry out a full assessment. It is indicated for some conditions and is very effective. However, it is contraindicated for some conditions.

If you have a referral directly for Shockwave Therapy treatment without a prior physiotherapist assessment from a medical doctor, please provide us with a referral letter.

What conditions does Shockwave Therapy treat?

Shockwave is commonly used for muscle rehabilitation and lower limb complaints such as:

  • Plantar Fasciopathy
  • Achilles Tendinopathy
  • Patella Tendinopathy
  • Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome
  • Hamstring Tendinopathy
  • Calcific Tendinosis in the Shoulder
  • Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

Contraindications to Shockwave Therapy

If any of the following apply to you, please advise your practitioner before booking a treatment:

  • You are pregnant
  • You have a cardiac pacemaker
  • You are haemophiliac
  • You have had a corticosteroid injection within the last 3 months
  • You are currently having treatment for cancer
  • You have a blood clotting disorder
  • You are using blood thinning medication

Frequently Asked Questions

Who carries out treatments?

Shockwave Therapy treatments can only be performed by our team of Physiotherapists and Osteopaths, who have all received specialist training.

How long do treatments last and how many do I need?

Clinical research and evidence recommend a minimum of 3 treatment sessions. However, the length and number of sessions required will be determined by your therapist.

Will my health insurance cover the cost of treatment?

If you have private medical insurance, this treatment may be covered for your specific condition. Please always check with your insurance company or discuss with your treating clinician first. Most insurance companies will only pay for Shockwave performed by a Physiotherapist, not an Osteopath.

What to expect after treatment?

Immediately following treatment, you may experience a dramatic reduction in pain. This effect only usually lasts for a few hours. The more important and longer lasting benefits are often not felt until around 6-8 weeks after the last treatment.

Post-treatment, we require a period of relative rest from intense exercise or a reduction in activity. This is necessary in order to give the tendon time to respond to treatment. Your therapist will discuss this with you.

After treatment, you may feel some discomfort or pain. Please do not use ice on the treated area or take NSAIDs (such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen), as this may reduce the therapeutic effect of the ECSWT.

Treatment fees

To consult our ECSWT treatment fees, visit our treatment prices page.

How to book ECSWT treatment

If you are already undergoing treatment, please discuss with your clinician. If you would like to book a course of Shockwave Therapy at the Putney Clinic, please call us on 020 8789 3881. Alternatively, send us an email to

CALL 020 8789 3881 TO BOOK


266 Upper Richmond Road,
London  SW15 6TQ.

Tel: 020 8789 3881

The Putney Clinic is a trading name of The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy Ltd. Registered in England and Wales. Company Number 06526680.