Achilles tendonitis is a common condition that causes pain and swelling in the Achilles tendon, which is the largest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Although this tendon can be damaged in a variety of ways, the result is the same: pain and decreased function.
Fortunately, there are various treatments available for this condition. Not all types of treatment are as effective and some are best when used in combination with others. One of the more effective treatment methods is shockwave therapy, a non-invasive and low-intensity treatment. Shockwave therapy has gained popularity in recent years for its potential to effectively treat Achilles tendonitis. Explore more about the effectiveness of shockwave therapy for Achilles tendonitis and how it really works.
How to Treat Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed due to repeated stress or strain. The condition is common among athletes who participate in sports that involve running and jumping. Common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis are pain along the back of the heel, swelling, stiffness, and weakness in the ankle and calf. The pain is often worse in the morning and after exercise.
There are several traditional treatment options available for Achilles tendonitis, including:
- The RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Resting the affected area and elevating it above heart level can reduce swelling and pain. Compression can provide support to the affected area and applying ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day can also help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Steroid injections. Corticosteroid injections can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area.
- Physical therapy. A physical therapist can provide exercises and stretches to strengthen the affected area and improve flexibility.
- Shockwave therapy. Shockwave therapy has emerged as a promising alternative to traditional treatments. It can stimulate healing and promote pain relief in a non-invasive manner to provide long-lasting relief.
Shockwave Therapy for Achilles Tendonitis
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses soundwaves to stimulate healing in damaged soft tissue. During the treatment, a handheld device is used to deliver the shockwaves to the affected area so that these waves can then stimulate the production of new blood vessels and improve blood flow. This in turn can promote healing and reduce pain.
The device used does emit a loud noise during the procedure that often lasts around five minutes. There can be some discomfort or mild pain during the shockwave therapy, but it does not last and patients can return to normal activity immediately after treatment.
Is Shockwave Therapy Good for Achilles Tendonitis?
The short and simple answer is yes, shockwave therapy is a good option for those with Achilles tendonitis. Shockwave therapy has been shown to provide long-lasting pain relief for a wide variety of soft tissue injuries. Although it is not entirely clear how the soundwaves help treat the injured area, shockwave therapy can offer a significant improvement in function and a decrease in pain.
The low-intensity nature of the treatment also means that there are little to no side effects. Other than some discomfort and loud noise at the time of treatment, patients can expect an effective treatment that simply improves the condition without negative reactions. The best results will come when shockwave therapy is used in conjunction with physical therapy and rehabilitation to strengthen the tendon and improve flexibility and range of motion.
How Effective Is Shockwave Therapy on Achilles Tendonitis?
Shockwave therapy has been found to be effective at treating Achilles tendonitis, but it is important to remember that the results will not be immediately apparent. Patients will need at least three sessions of therapy in order to see long-term pain relief, but the treatment is effective. In fact, it could be more effective than traditional treatments such as rest and the use of NSAIDs to manage pain.
When used in combination with progressive strength training, patients may see results quicker than if they relied on physical therapy alone. This treatment is a great way to kickstart healing in patients whose pain prevents them from engaging in rehab treatment by reducing the pain and inflammation ahead of time.
How SoftWave Can Help
SoftWave therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for Achilles tendonitis that can offer patients long-lasting relief from pain and increased function in the area. This non-invasive and low-intensity treatment has minimal side effects and is a relatively simple process.
SoftWave is a leading provider of shockwave therapy technology that can help both patients and providers. Providers can benefit from this cutting-edge technology since it enables them to offer effective treatments for Achilles tendonitis and other conditions in addition to traditional treatments like physical therapy.