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Shockwave Therapy

Hands on care and targeted exercise is at the core of what we provide to facilitate healing.  However, every now and then, a tool comes along that makes a remarkable difference in a different way. We caught up with Advanced Practice Physiotherapist Rob Ruddick from Evidence Sport and Spine to find out about SHOCKWAVE.

How long have you been using Shockwave Therapy (SWT)?

RR: I first had access to Shockwave as a treatment modality 4 years ago.  By the time I moved my practice to Evidence Sport and Spine, I was very familiar with its applications, treatment planning, and treatment applications.

What is it?

RR: SWT is a low frequency, high amplitude acoustic wave delivered by a hand-held probe.  The waves stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms.  It’s non-invasive and therefore is also referred to as Extracorporeal SWT – the probe is placed on the skin over the target tissue and the acoustic wave is conducted through the skin by ultrasound gel. 

Why have it with a Physiotherapist?

RR: SWT is for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and Physiotherapists specialize in MSK.  A Physiotherapist is best positioned to diagnose an injury and develop a comprehensive and tailored treatment plan that includes SWT as well as education regarding your injury, appropriate exercises, and recommendations regarding periodization and return to play or work.

What’s one injury that stands out to you in your practice with SWT?

RR: I’m particularly interested in utilizing SWT for gluteal tendinopathy, an injury I think is underdiagnosed and therefore under-treated.  I’ve seen patients with recalcitrant gluteal tendonopathy diagnosed by specialists for rehabilitation post tenotomy – a minor surgical intervention.  Because SWT is extracorporeal I would encourage patients to have a course of Physiotherapy with SWT before jumping to tenotomy.

What other injuries can be treated with SWT?

RR: The best evidence for SWT is for recalcitrant tendinopathies: achilles, patellar and quadriceps tendonitis, lateral and medial epicondylitis, rotator cuff tendonitis or calcific tendinitis amongst others.

Any final advice for anyone trying to decide how to rehabilitate an injury or improve their performance?

RR: The major benefit of working directly with a physiotherapist is receiving appropriate, evidence-informed, comprehensive care.  We work within the bio-psycho-social model to fully understand your needs and provide you with the most appropriate tools to get there.