What is Shockwave Therapy?

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (EWST) is a modern, highly effective treatment for soft tissue injuries. It is a clinically proven method used by Physiotherapists for treating chronic tendon problems. It works by delivering impulses of energy, targeted to specific damaged tissues within an abnormal tendon. These impulses of energy (shocks) increase blood flow within the affected area, stimulating cell regeneration and healing, and decreasing local factors which can cause pain.

It is a highly effective treatment for patients with:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Achilles Tendinopathy
  • Patellar Tendinopathy
  • Tennis or Golfers Elbow
  • Hip Pain
  • Shin Splints
  • Shoulder Impingement
  • Bursitis and Calcific Tendinitis

How does Shockwave Therapy work?

The ‘shockwave’ is a pulse generated by compressed air which is converted into acoustic energy. This acoustic energy is transmitted through the skin and targets specific damaged tissues within the abnormal tendon. The acoustic waves have a very high energy peak which interacts with the tissue, causing a series of medical effects which ultimately help to overcome the injury.

Shockwave Therapy produces a number of effects at a cellular level:

  • It increases blood flow and starts to form new capillaries in the area
  • It breaks down scar tissue and restarts inflammatory process
  • It stimulates the production of new collagen fibres in the tissue
  • It breaks down calcium deposits within a tendon
  • It reduces the amount of “Substance P” – a neurotransmitter that sends chronic pain signals to your brain
  • It releases trigger points and muscular tightness

How effective is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave Therapy is particularly effective in treating long-standing/chronic conditions. Most studies show that shockwave therapy can notably reduce the pain and suffering associated with Plantar Fasciitis, Patellar Tendinopathies and Achilles Tendiopathies amongst other tendon issues.

Literature reviews collating the results of the most current clinical research report a success rate of between 65 and 91% in reducing patients’ pain and symptoms.  These results are expected after a course of 3-6 shockwave sessions of a duration of anywhere between 5-15 minutes, as well as further exercise management from the Physiotherapist.

Shockwave treatment is supported and endorsed by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for the treatment of chronic soft tissue conditions.

In addition, current clinical studies are suggesting approximately 80% of all patients who have received Shockwave Therapy report high satisfaction with the results of this treatment.

What happens during the appointment?

In your first appointment your Physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment of your injury. If they feel shockwave therapy will benefit you they will proceed with the treatment.

  • Firstly they will apply a contact gel to the skin.
  • The shockwave machine head is then placed on the affect area
  • Shockwaves are delivered through the skin (Between 5-15 minutes)
  • The shockwaves are felt as pulses which can feel uncomfortable
  • Your Physio will start at a low intensity level and increase the level until a tolerable level is reached

Following your initial session it is advised you have a further 4 or 5 sessions.

Research shows that on average a client needs 5-6 shockwave treatments in total to overcome an injury.

What to expect after the appointment?

After your session of Shockwave, you will most likely feel an immediate pain relief in the area that has been worked on. However, a few hours after the treatment, you may then start to experience some soreness in the treated area. This soreness is tolerable and not limiting and will feel more general that your actual injuries pain.

You may also experience some reddening, bruising and swelling as well as a potential brief increase in pain. This should be very tolerable and will subside over a few days.

Shockwave therapy is a ‘pro-inflammatory’ treatment which is why the above reactions can occur. The treatment is trying to re-start your healing process from a chronic state. Therefore DO NOT take any anti-inflammatory medication during your course of treatment as this will interfere with the natural healing process.

It is fine to continue with your usual activities following shockwave and is very important to keep working on your rehab exercises given to you by your Physiotherapist. It is however advised that you do not do any strenuous and impactful exercise for 24hrs following treatment.

There are no reported long-term side effects from shockwave therapy.

Shockwave Therapy at Comfort Health


Shockwave Therapy Assessment and Treatment – £75

Shockwave course of treatments  (6 sessions) – £360

Shockwave Therapy Assessment and Treatment (bilateral) – £85

Shockwave course of treatments  (bilateral 6 sessions) – £440

Book your initial appointment online here or contact us if you would like any more information.

If you are already seeing one of our Physiotherapists you can add shockwave treatment onto the appointment for an additional £25 per session. All of our Physiotherapists offer Shockwave Therapy.