How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?

Many traditional therapies–such as anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, and so forth–can assist the body during the early, acute phase of an injury. However, they are much less effective in assisting the body to heal when an injury becomes chronic. As an example, many patients can relate to a history where a steroid injection (like cortisone) seemed to be effective in resolving pain early in their healing process, but subsequent injections were much less effective. This isn’t really surprising when you realize that a chronic-state, degenerative injury isn’t likely to respond well to a medication designed to affect an acute-phase, inflammatory condition.

What makes Shockwave Therapy unique is that it is one of the very few technologies in any field of medicine that seems to work best when an injury reaches the chronic, non-healing state. Shockwave Therapy appears to be able to jump start the healing process in chronic, non-healing injuries and move them back into the acute phase of healing.

Shockwave Therapy causes a neovascularization (produces new blood vessels) of a hyaline degenerative tissue. This picture below by Dr. Wang in Taiwan illustrates the significant difference in new blood vessels between the control group that has no shockwave treatment on a dog’s achilles tendon and shockwave treatment on the other tendon. One can clearly see the new vessel formation in the treated group of dogs with induced achilles tendinopathy.

Shockwave Therapy exerts a mechanical pressure and tension force on the afflicted tissue. This has been shown to create an increase in cell membrane permeability, thereby increasing microscopic circulation to the tissues and the metabolism within the treated tissues, both of which promote healing and subsequent dissolution of pathological calcific deposits.

Shockwave Therapy also stimulates cells in the body known as osteoblasts (bone cells responsible for bone healing and new bone production) as well as fibroblasts (cells responsible for the healing of connective tissues such as tendon, ligaments, and fasica) which expedites their healing process.

Scientific Research:

For published research articles on Shockwave Therapy click on any of the links below:

Shockwave Canada - Scientific-Evidence Case Studies


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West Toronto Foot & Ankle Clinic Inc.

781 The Queensway, Unit N  Toronto, ON M8Z 1N4