Achilles tendinitis (Achilles tendinosis, Achilles tendinopathy) has been documented as the most common overuse injury treated in sports medicine clinics.
Achilles tendon injuries can be frustrating to treat as the healing process can be slow and often involves rest. Other common treatment plans include heel lifts, arch supports or orthotics, stretching, eccentric strengthening and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
Treating and preventing Achilles tendinitis
Today we will look at the role of shockwave therapy in treating or preventing recurrence of Achilles tendinitis or Achilles tendon injuries.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy was first used to treat kidney stones. While undergoing treatment, patients were finding that their musculoskeletal conditions, such as lower back pain, were improving. In the 1990’s extracorporeal shockwave therapy became popular for treating soft tissue conditions in Germany. In the United States shockwave therapy was first approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Nowadays, it is used worldwide.
Various studies have been performed to assess the effectiveness of extraceorporeal shockwave therapy on an injured Achilles tendon.
Pilot studies originally suggested that shockwave therapy can be an effective treatment for patients with non-insertional Achilles tendinitis (when it is in the centre to higher portion of the tendon or calf) (1, 2). And more recent randomized controlled trials have substantiated these results. In the largest of these studies 75 patients were enrolled in a randomized trial to compare eccentric loading, repetitive low-energy SWT and no treatment. SWT was administered in weekly intervals with a primary follow-up of at least 12 weeks. At 4 months from baseline, 60% of those receiving shockwave therapy reported symptoms “completely recovered” or “much improved”.
Our successes using shockwave therapy
In the clinic at Performance Podiatry Sydney we are having great success with treating Achilles tendinitis using shockwave therapy. Particularly, the stubborn Achilles tendon injuries where all other traditional treatments have been exhausted. We are very excited about the prospect of using shockwave therapy perhaps for breaking up adhesions (scar tissue) in soft tissues from years of repetitive trauma.
If you have been suffering from Achilles tendinosis, make an appointment for a shockwave consultation to kick start the healing process and get back to being active.
Make a podiatrist appointment for Achilles tendinitis treatment.
Our highly qualified and experienced podiatrists are experts in biomechanics and it’s our philosophy that the finest foot care requires an entirely bespoke experience. That’s why we are dedicated to providing entirely tailor-made diagnosis and treatment services that are the best in Australia.
Our dynamic practice has a holistic approach to resolving foot complaints.
From assessment and diagnosis to extraordinary treatment, every step of your journey with us will deliver you the ultimate podiatric experience, resulting in healthier and happier feet.
Book a consultation with our podiatrists in Sydney (Macquarie St), Darlinghurst and Randwick to discuss your condition and we’ll get you pain-free and back to full function as smoothly and quickly as possible, so you can return to the activities and life you love.
- Lakshmanan P, O’Doherty DP. Chronic Achilles tendinopathy: treatment with extracorporeal shock wave. Foot Ankle Surg. 2004;10:125–130.
- Perlick L, Schiffmann R, Kraft CN, Wallny T, Diedrich O. Extracorporeal shock wave treatment of the Achilles tendonitis: experimental and preliminary clinical results. Z Orthop Ihre Grenzgeb.2002;140(3):275–280.
- Astore F, Sansone V, De Marchi F. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for tendinopathy of Achilles. Read at the 23rd Isokinetic congress on rehabilitation of sports muscle and tendon injuries, Turin, Italy; 2004.
- Peers K. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy in chronic Achilles and patellar tendinopathy. Leuven: Leuven University Press; 2003.
- Rompe JD, Nafe B, Furia J, Maffulli N. Eccentric loading, shock wave treatment or a wait-and-see policy for tendinopathy of the main body of the tendo Achilles: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Sports Med. 2007;35:374–383.