6571 Brecksville Rd, Independence, OH 44131

What is the difference between Radial ESWT and Focused ESWT?

Radial Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (rESWT) and Focused Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (fESWT) are both non-invasive medical treatments that use shock waves to stimulate healing and reduce pain in certain musculoskeletal conditions. Here are the key differences between the two:

  1. Wave Characteristics:
    • Radial ESWT (rESWT): Radial shock waves are generated from a handpiece that emits pressure waves in a radial, or divergent, pattern. These waves spread out in multiple directions from the point of origin.
    • Focused ESWT (fESWT): Focused shock waves are concentrated at a specific point, converging on a focal point. This focused energy is typically delivered to a precise target within the body.
  2. Depth of Penetration:
    • Radial ESWT (rESWT): Radial shock waves penetrate tissues in a more superficial manner. They are often used for conditions closer to the surface of the body, such as tendinopathies or superficial musculoskeletal issues.
    • Focused ESWT (fESWT): Focused shock waves can penetrate deeper into the tissues. This makes them suitable for treating conditions located at greater depths within the body, such as deep-seated tendons or bone-related issues.
  3. Treatment Area:
    • Radial ESWT (rESWT): Radial shock waves are suitable for treating larger areas. They are often used for broader conditions affecting a more extensive region of the body.
    • Focused ESWT (fESWT): Focused shock waves are ideal for targeting specific anatomical structures with precision. They are commonly employed for focused treatment of particular musculoskeletal points.
  4. Application Technique:
    • Radial ESWT (rESWT): Radial shock waves are applied using a handpiece that is pressed against the skin. The shock waves radiate outward from the point of contact.
    • Focused ESWT (fESWT): Focused shock waves are usually delivered with a device that allows for precise targeting of the affected area.

What are the benefits of ESWT?

  • Pain Relief: Both radial and focused ESWT can provide pain relief by stimulating tissue regeneration and reducing inflammation.
  • Improved Blood Flow: Shock waves can enhance blood circulation in the treated area, promoting healing.
  • Non-Invasive: ESWT is a non-invasive alternative to surgery for certain musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Minimal Downtime: Patients typically experience minimal downtime and can resume normal activities shortly after treatment.

The choice between radial and focused ESWT depends on the specific condition being treated and the depth of the affected tissues.

At Cleveland Health Group, we use Focused Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (fESWT) to successfully treat various tendonopathies by promoting tissue healing and reducing pain. Some of the most common tendonopathies that have shown positive responses to fESWT include:

  1. Plantar Fasciitis:
    • Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. fESWT has been used to target the affected area and stimulate healing.
  2. Achilles Tendinopathy:
    • Achilles tendinopathy refers to conditions affecting the Achilles tendon, often resulting in pain and stiffness. fESWT can be applied to the affected tendon to promote tissue regeneration and reduce symptoms.
  3. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis):
    • Tennis elbow is a common condition characterized by pain and inflammation on the outer part of the elbow. fESWT has been used to target the affected tendons and alleviate symptoms.
  4. Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis):
    • Golfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow but involves pain on the inner part of the elbow. fESWT may be employed to treat the affected tendons and improve function.
  5. Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy:
    • The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles around the shoulder joint. Tendinopathy of the rotator cuff can lead to pain and limited range of motion. fESWT has been applied to the shoulder area to address these issues.
  6. Patellar Tendinopathy (Jumper’s Knee):
    • Patellar tendinopathy affects the tendon connecting the patella (kneecap) to the shinbone. fESWT can be used to target the patellar tendon and promote healing.
  7. Hip Tendinopathies:
    • Tendinopathies affecting the hip, such as gluteal tendinopathy, can cause pain and discomfort. fESWT may be utilized to address these conditions and improve hip function.
  8. Biceps Tendinopathy:
    • Tendinopathy of the biceps tendon, often involving the shoulder, can benefit from focused shock wave therapy to promote healing and reduce pain.


Contact us today to discuss your options.