Shockwave therapy has become an effective non-invasive treatment for musculoskeletal conditions. However, not all shockwave therapies are the same. In this article, we will explore the differences between radial and focused shockwave therapy and its unique applications in clinical practice.

Radial Shockwave Therapy

Radial shockwave therapy involves the emission of low-energy shockwaves that disperse radially from the treatment site. These shockwaves are generated through a handheld applicator and are transmitted to the affected area. Radial shockwave therapy stimulates the body’s natural healing processes and enhances blood circulation.


  1. Tendinopathies: Radial shockwave therapy is commonly used to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, and tennis elbow. It helps to reduce pain, promote tissue regeneration, and improve overall function.
  2. Muscular Trigger Points: This therapy can effectively target trigger points, relieving muscular pain and improving muscle function.
  3. Myofascial Syndromes: Radial shockwave therapy is beneficial in addressing myofascial pain syndromes, releasing muscle tightness, and improving range of motion.
  4. Calcifications: It is also employed to break down calcifications in tendons, such as those found in calcific tendonitis of the shoulder.


Focused Shockwave Therapy

On the other hand, focused shockwave therapy utilizes high-energy shockwaves that are precisely targeted to the affected area. These shockwaves are focused on a specific point, delivering a higher energy intensity for deeper penetration and tissue stimulation.


  1. Bone and Joint Disorders: Focused shockwave therapy is commonly used for conditions like non-union fractures, avascular necrosis, and delayed bone healing. It promotes bone regeneration and helps accelerate the healing process.
  2. Deep Tissue Conditions: This therapy effectively treats deep-seated conditions such as deep tissue calcifications and trigger points.
  3. Erectile Dysfunction: Focused shockwave therapy has shown promising results in treating erectile dysfunction by improving blood flow and stimulating neovascularization.
  4. Chronic Pain Conditions: It can be used to alleviate chronic pain associated with conditions like fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome.


Choosing the Right Approach

The choice between radial and focused shockwave therapy depends on the specific condition being treated and the desired therapeutic outcome. While radial shockwave therapy is more suitable for surface-level needs and promoting tissue healing, focused shockwave therapy is better suited for deep-seated issues and targeting specific points.

Medical professionals must assess the patient’s condition, medical history, and individual needs to determine the most appropriate approach. Factors such as the depth of the affected tissues, the size of the treatment area, and the desired treatment outcomes should be considered.

Both radial and focused shockwave therapies offer non-invasive alternatives to surgical interventions and provide effective pain relief and functional improvement. In addition, they have minimal side effects and shorter recovery times compared to traditional treatments.

When incorporating shockwave therapy into your practice, it is essential to stay current with the latest research, attend specialized training programs, and select high-quality shockwave devices that meet safety and efficacy standards.

In summary, radial and focused shockwave therapies offer distinct approaches with specific musculoskeletal and soft tissue treatment applications. Radial shockwave therapy is ideal for external conditions and stimulating tissue healing. In contrast, focused shockwave therapy suits deeper tissue problems and precise targeting. As a medical professional, understanding the differences and benefits of each approach empowers you to make informed decisions in providing the best care for your patients.