Shockwave Therapy

What can I expect on my first shockwave treatment?

On your initial visit, your physiotherapist will complete a thorough exam of your injury to determine whether or not shockwave is the best option for you. If they feel this would be most beneficial to your condition, the treatment will then be conducted. This will only last about 5 minutes for most areas. Most injuries require multiple treatments spaced several days apart to allow the body to naturally heal in between sessions. The remainder of the session may be used doing other techniques such as manual therapy.

How does radial shockwave work?

Shockwave uses a direct mechanical force that allows the wave’s energy to pass through the tissues being treated. This will result in a biological reaction within the cells of that tissue called inflammation. This will allow the body to accelerate its natural healing response, and increase blood flow to the injured site.

The process is often loud, but this is normal. It is just the sound generated by the impact of the sound head. Different size heads will be used depending on the size of the area being worked on.

How effective is shockwave?

There is overwhelming evidence supporting shockwave therapy. It is often the best choice for conditions that do not respond to other treatments. It works without the use of drugs and stimulates your body’s natural ability to heal itself through inflammation. It may even eliminate the need for surgery for certain individuals.

What type of results are expected after treatments?

The results can be felt immediately following a shockwave treatment. This often includes:

  • Decreased pain
  • Improved mobility
  • Muscle tone is normalized
  • “Knots” or tightness in the muscle is relaxed

What conditions can be treated with Radial Shockwave Therapy?

  • Plantar fasciitis or heel spurs
  • Patellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee)
  • Lateral or medial epicondylitis (tennis or golfer’s elbow)
  • Thumb basal joint arthritis
  • Shoulder tendinitis
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Bursitis
  • Shin splints
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Stress fractures
  • Osteoarthritis

Does Shockwave hurt?

When treatment is done on a more “fleshy” area like a muscle, it is unlikely to hurt. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable on a more “bony” area, however the machine can be adjusted in order to minimize this. The first treatment may be slightly uncomfortable, but it is very well tolerated by most. As the body heals, each consecutive treatment will become more comfortable.

What should I do after treatment?

Often, there is no immediate pain after shockwave therapy. There may be discomfort, reddening or bruising 2-4 hours after treatment. This will usually subside within 48 hours, however in rare cases it may last up to 5 days.

The treatment will trigger an inflammatory response, which is the body’s natural healing process. It is therefore important to avoid the use of ice or anti-inflammatory medications.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of treatment, it is recommended to avoid activity for 48 hours following the treatment, even if you are feeling good.

If you would like to learn more about shockwave as a treatment option, please feel free to contact us at (613) 440-8483.

Book A Shockwave Appointment with Kristine


Kristine Kavanaugh is a registered physiotherapist with training in CranioSacral Therapy and various other disciplines.  Visit her profile page to see a list of her training. She graduated from Ottawa University and is currently working in Barrhaven (Ottawa, ON). She has over 10 years of clinical experience in orthopedic physiotherapy.  You can Follow Her Blog @PhysioVive Facebook Page.


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