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dont start shockwave therapy in melbourne without reading this first

Don’t Start Shockwave Therapy in Melbourne Without Reading This First

It was more than 4 years ago when I was first asked my opinion on shockwave therapy in Melbourne.

At the time I was consulting as a podiatrist as well as teaching final-year podiatry students at La Trobe University. Shockwave therapy had been around for a couple of years making waves with various pockets of researchers and clinicians but I wasn’t convinced. 

We’d been through this before. 

Electrotherapies that cost a bunch, felt nice but didn’t fix any underlying problems or injuries that had been and gone throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Surely this new extracorporeal shockwave treatment was just another boom and bust treatment.

Then a research article dropped that showed shockwave treatment was effective for plantar fasciitis. 

Then another on Achilles tendonitis.

Soon enough the research was piling up showing that shockwave treatment could and should be used for a variety of injuries that I saw as a podiatrist every day.

And yet, I was still not convinced.

I’m not proud to admit this. 

As a podiatrist who espouses evidence-based practice, I still was sceptical. I was challenged on this by colleagues at La Trobe University who had come to embrace shockwave therapy in Melbourne and outer Melbourne practices. Even the University where I taught managed to find the funds to buy a state-of-the-art shockwave machine.

And it was only then that I started to come around. 

Isn’t that terrible? It took my own experience and following my peers before I embraced shockwave therapy in Melbourne despite it being supported by clinical research.

So what can you learn from my delay and mistakes in embracing shockwave therapy in Melbourne?

Shockwave therapy isn’t magic, but it can help.

Shockwave therapy has proven to be beneficial for those with tendon and fascia-related injuries which are considered chronic. That means injuries that have been present for more than 6 weeks.

If you have one of these injuries, for example, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis or tennis elbow then when combined with a comprehensive treatment plan you can expect good results.

There are 6 different mechanisms at play with shockwave therapy that can help and these occur at different times during treatment. Some happen early, others only happen when the treatment reaches a higher level of impact (greater pressure of shockwaves delivered). 

You can learn more about how shockwave therapy works here.

Shockwave therapy in Melbourne isn’t for everyone.

My scepticism around shockwave therapy in Melbourne reared its head again when I heard that it was being used for conditions that aren’t indicated by the evidence.

Acute foot injuries aren’t likely to benefit from shockwave therapy as the method of action to stimulate the healing of old injuries won’t be kicked in. Then there’s what I’ll call “sham shockwaves”.

Sham shockwaves are not even shockwaves at all, just gentle massage. 

To get a shockwave to form for therapeutic benefits you need to reach around 4.0 bar of pressure on your shockwave unit. This is a measure of intensity. Under 4 bars you will feel something, but you’re not getting cavitation within the tissue to trigger all that healing that your tendon or fascia needs. At best, this low-intensity sham shockwave feels a little soothing and numb, at worst, you’ve wasted your time and dollars on a therapy that’s not helping you achieve your goals.

This hasn’t stopped suppliers from marketing shockwave units that can’t even reach 4 bars of pressure.

Shocking, I know.

Shockwave therapy is for you if…

So, let’s consider who shockwave therapy in Melbourne is for. If you:

  • Have battled plantar fasciitis for more than 6 weeks.
  • Find Achilles tendonitis or Achilles tendinopathy has been limiting your movement.
  • Know your tendon or fascia injuries have been lingering for more than 6 weeks.

Then there’s a good chance that your injury will benefit from shockwave therapy in Melbourne. 

And if you’d like to start your shockwave treatment you can book in with our podiatrists in Melbourne CBD.

About the Author

tim mulholland podiatrist melbourne and pascoe vale

Melbourne based podiatrist Tim Mulholland has come to appreciate when shockwave therapy is likely to help, and when it’s a waste of time. After reading the research (here, here and here amongst others) it took personal experience seeing and feeling the effects of shockwave therapy in Melbourne before it became part of his treatment plans.

Before you go…

Now you know if shockwave therapy in Melbourne will help with your injury, but would you like to know more? Specifically, if you have plantar fasciitis in Melbourne or Achilles tendonitis in Melbourne we’ve guides for you. Or, if you’ve learned that shockwave treatment isn’t for you and your injury you can find what can help you on our blog.