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Shockwaves? Lithotripsy? -- How the science help your hurts

What is Lithotripsy?

Also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Treatment (ESWT), lithotripsy makes use of the unique characteristic of shockwaves to treat various conditions and ailments.

How it works

Unlike ultrasound - which has a sinusoidal waveform - shockwaves have high pressure amplitudes with very quick rise times and a frequency ranging from the audible to the ultrasonic level.

The intense changes in pressure produce strong waves of compression and tensile forces that can travel through any elastic medium, such as water.

The repetition of the shockwaves stimulates the tissue of the tendon which produces a response by neovascularization and cell proliferation. The inflammation then slowly subsides after a period of weeks post treatment.

The results

More than 70% of patients undertaking ESWT for plantar fasciitis and other tendon problems respond well.

ESWT is proving that it is a safe, beneficial, and non-invasive treatment for patients with chronic plantar fasciitis and other forms of tendonitis such as trochanteric bursitis, Achilles tendonitis, and calcific and non-calcific tendonitis.

What's next

Now in its 20th year, Queensland Lithotripsy Services still offers the only dedicated ultrasound guided treatment in Queensland - at two clinics (Brisbane City and Runaway Bay, the Gold Coast). Learn more about QLS.

And coming up - more information about the radial vs focused types of lithotripsy!

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