The role of shockwave therapy in treating football injuries: a comprehensive guide for clinicians

A Comprehensive Guide for Clinicians

As we celebrate EURO 2024, the excitement surrounding the tournament also brings attention to the physical demands placed on football players. Football, being one of the most strenuous sports, often leads to various injuries, making effective treatment modalities crucial for clinicians. Shockwave therapy (ESWT), especially with Chattanooga's advanced devices like INTELECT RPW 2 and Focus Shockwave Device, has emerged as a ground breaking non-invasive treatment for common football injuries.

This blog explores the applications, benefits, and clinical evidence supporting shockwave therapy in treating football injuries, helping you enhance patient outcomes.

Understanding Common Football Injuries

Football players are prone to a range of injuries due to the sport's high-intensity nature. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Achilles Tendinopathy: Chronic inflammation of the Achilles tendon, often due to overuse.
  • Patellar Tendinopathy (Jumper’s Knee): Inflammation of the patellar tendon caused by repetitive stress.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the plantar fascia, leading to heel pain.

The Science Behind Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy utilises high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing in damaged tissues. These acoustic waves enhance blood flow, promote tissue regeneration, and reduce pain by targeting affected areas. The mechanism involves mechanical and biological effects that accelerate the body's natural healing processes.

  1. Mechanical Effects: The shockwaves create microtrauma in tissues, which triggers a healing response, increasing blood circulation and cell regeneration.
  2. Biological Effects: Enhanced collagen production, reduction of chronic inflammation, and dissolution of calcified fibroblasts are some of the biological benefits observed with shockwave therapy.

Clinical Applications of Shockwave Therapy in Football Injuries

1. Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy is a prevalent injury among football players. Shockwave therapy has shown remarkable efficacy in treating this condition by reducing pain and promoting tendon repair. Wang et al. (2012) found that ESWT significantly improved outcomes in patients with chronic tendinopathies, including Achilles and patellar tendinopathy​.

2. Patellar Tendinopathy

Patellar tendinopathy, or jumper's knee, can severely limit a player's ability to perform. Shockwave therapy targets the patellar tendon, enhancing blood flow and stimulating healing. Lohrer et al. (2002) found significant improvements in pain at rest, pain during exercise, pressure pain, and pain-free running time, with 40% of patients being pain-free one year after treatment and 24.4% showing improvement.

3. Plantar Fasciitis

Shockwave therapy effectively reduces pain and improves foot function, with long-lasting results. Studies show its superiority over corticosteroid injections. A study by Moneim et al. (2023) comparing shockwave therapy and corticosteroid injections followed by therapeutic ultrasound in chronic plantar fasciitis patients found that shockwave therapy provided more long-term pain relief and functional improvement at the 12-week follow-up. This highlights the effectiveness of shockwave therapy in treating plantar fasciitis.

Benefits of Shockwave Therapy

  1. Non-Invasive: Unlike surgical interventions, ESWT is non-invasive and requires no downtime.
  2. Pain Reduction: Immediate and sustained pain relief, crucial for high-performance athletes.
  3. Faster Recovery: Accelerates healing, allowing athletes to return to their sport more quickly.
  4. Improved Mobility: Enhances range of motion and functional capacity of the injured area.

Clinical Evidence Supporting Shockwave Therapy

Numerous studies have validated the effectiveness of shockwave therapy in treating sports injuries:

  • Wang et al. (2012) found that ESWT significantly improved outcomes in patients with chronic tendinopathies, including Achilles and patellar tendinopathy​ (Biomed Central)
  • Van der Worp et al. (2021) conducted a study on the effectiveness of radial pressure wave therapy in athletes with patellar tendinopathy, showing a significant reduction in pain and improvement in function​ (BioMed Central)​.
  • Lohrer et al. (2002) conducted a non-randomised, prospective pilot study assessing the effectiveness of radial shockwave therapy (RSWT) on patellar tendinopathy. (British Journal of Sports Medicine)
  • Moneim, N. H. A., Hemed, M. A., ten Klooster, P. M., & Rasker, J. J. (2023). "Chronic Plantar Fasciitis Treatment: A Randomized Trial Comparing Corticosteroid Injections Followed by Therapeutic Ultrasound with Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy. (MDPI)

Implementing Shockwave Therapy in Your Practice

To integrate shockwave therapy into your clinical practice, consider the following steps:

  1. Training: Ensure your team is adequately trained in using shockwave therapy devices. 
  2. Patient Education: Educate your patients on the benefits and what to expect from shockwave therapy. 
  3. Sign up for Enovis Institute: An online educational platform designed only for medical professionals. REGISTER HERE!
  4. Customised Treatment Plans: Develop individualised treatment plans based on the specific injury and patient needs.


Shockwave therapy represents a significant advancement in the treatment of football injuries. By incorporating this innovative therapy into your practice, you can enhance patient outcomes, reduce recovery times, and provide effective pain relief.

Ready to upgrade your practice with shockwave therapy?

CONTACT US today to learn more about the Intelect RPW 2 and Focus Shockwave and how it can benefit your patients.