What is an extracorporeal shock wave therapy examination?

An extracorporeal shock wave therapy examination is a necessary step to program a therapeutic treatment with shock waves in order to treat diseases of the bones and joints such as tendinopathy, groin pain, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.
The treatment is a non painful procedure and is carried out in cycles of three sessions, lasting between 3 to 10 minutes, and is generally complimentary to a rehabilitation program that includes physiotherapy techniques, targeted exercises, and medications.


What is the purpose of an extracorporeal shock wave therapy examination?

The examination is used in order for a physiatrist to carefully assess the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments of the patient, allowing for the accurate diagnose of abnormalities, disorders, diseases, and pain that can compromise movement and other functions. The diseases and disorders a physiatrist deals with during the therapy include, calcific tendonitis and periarthritis, epicondylitis (tennis elbow), trocanteritis, patellar tendinitis (knee), achilles tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis. Others include strains and muscle spasms, delays in bone healing after fractures, avascular necrosis, complex regional pain syndrome, spastic hypertonia, spastic cerebral palsy, diabetic foot ulcers, vascular ulcers, skin necrosis, and scleroderma.


How is an extracorporeal shock wave therapy examination carried out?

Initially a physiatrist will gather information on the patients medical history such as, present symptoms, previous pathologies, type of work done, and level of physical activity.
The visit is also needed to exclude the therapy for patients with conditions that are contraindicative such as infections, cartilage growth, coagulation disorders, bone tumors, pregnancy, and in the case that a patient has a pacemaker, or is on cortisone treatment.
The doctor will then continue with the analysis of the structure and functionality of the bones and ligaments, focusing on aspects such as posture, muscle strength, range of motion, and presence of swelling and flares.
The specialist may need to prescribe specific diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, ultrasound of the joints, CAT scan, and MRI.


Are there any guidelines for preparation?

There are no standards of preparation. The patient, however, is asked to bring any reports, such as X-rays, which could be useful for the assessment of the situation.