Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave Therapy in Edmonton

What is shockwave Therapy?

Extracorporeal Radial Shockwave Therapy is an advanced non-invasive treatment technique. A series of low-energy acoustic pulse waves are used to penetrate the skin and treat the tissues without using any medications.  The use of the shockwave in healthcare has been developed in recent decades. It was primarily used to remove unwanted calcium deposits such as kidney stones and gallbladder stones in the 1980s. In the 2000s, Radial Shock waves were developed and introduced in physical therapy for rapid pain relief and tissue repair due to injuries. It requires a minimal number of treatment sessions and treats the pathology’s underlying cause.

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What is unique about Shockwave Therapy?

How does Shockwave Therapy work?

The latest Chattanooga RPW 2 Shockwave Therapy Machine is used at Innovation Physical Therapy Plus. In RPW 2, collisions of a launched projectile inside the applicator against the impact body (Transmitter) convert the kinetic energy into acoustic energy that produces pressure waves. The motion of the impact body is transferred to the tissue at the point of skin contact, which is the point of highest energy concentration. The pressure waves propagate divergently into the underlying tissue in the form of radial pulse waves.  

The mechanical energy of the shockwave is converted into biochemical energy in the cell and extracellular matrix. The mechanical irritation of cellular matric (Mechanotransduction) and production of gas-filled bubbles (Stable Cavitation) results in the release of many biochemical mediators such as Nitric oxide. It accelerated an immune and inflammatory response, increasing blood circulation (Vasodilatation) and new blood vessel formation (Neo vascularization).

How is shockwave therapy applied?

First, the physiotherapist will complete an assessment to confirm the appropriateness of the treatment application for your condition.

A wand-like handheld device is placed over the specific treatment areas, and soundwaves are delivered through several thousand gentle shocks through a coupling media. There is no need for any anesthesia. The treatment time is short, ranging from 2-5 min. The total number of sessions would vary from 3-6 times, and one treatment session per week is recommended for better results.

Focused Vs Radial Shockwave Therapy

Focused waves can be directed at a minimal point with high intensity and go deeper. Radial waves impact a larger but shallower area, which is suitable for treating superficial musculoskeletal issues like tendons. There has been confusion about the effectiveness of the two different shockwaves. The research findings show no significant difference in the effectiveness of these two types of techniques in musculoskeletal conditions. When applying the most tolerable energy output within medium intensity ranges, Radial Shockwave has been found effective in pain relief and tissue regeneration in many superficial musculoskeletal conditions with a better, safer overall effectiveness in the treatment.

Physiological Effects:

What effects to expect from a treatment?

  • Tenocyte proliferation
  • Tendon tissue regeneration
  • Tendon remodelling
  • Facilitate Tendon gliding
  • Some common tendon conditions are:
    • Tendonitis: inflammatory response is seen at a specific site.
    • Tendinosis: Chronic tendon pain upon abnormalities on imaging, i.e., intratendinous degeneration with no inflammation on CT, Radiograph or MRI.
    • Tendinopathy: Pain with impaired performance, inflammation and intratendinous changes

Some conditions treated with Shockwave Therapy.

Foot and ankle pain:

Hip and Knee pain:

Neck and back pain:

Shoulder pain:

Elbow pain:

Wrist and Hand pain:

Chronic Stress/Non-union Fractures

Erectile dysfunction

Possible temporary side effects:

Covered with extended benefit plans
Currently, most insurance companies and extended benefit plans cover the treatment with Shockwave Therapy as a part of Physical Therapy.

What to expect after the first treatment?
Many people experience good pain relief after the first session. It is common to notice temporary soreness, redness, and mild swelling due to the inflammatory and immune response. Our physiotherapist will assess you after the shock wave therapy session and provide you with the other appropriate treatments, such as specific therapeutic exercises, activity modification and necessary home exercise programs.


Certain conditions are not appropriate for Shock Wave Therapy. Some of the most common are:

  • Circulation disorders
  • Nerve disorders
  • Bone tumours
  • Cancer
  • Pregnancy (applications on the back)
  • People on certain medications, such as blood thinner
  • Corticosteroid injection (Can be treated with Shockwave six weeks after injection) 
  • Polyneuralgia
  • Acute inflammation
  • Thrombosis
  • Over nerve roots/spinal cord
  • Over lung tissue
  • Over a Growth Plate