Shockwave therapy is a method of pain management that involves the use of measured sound waves to promote healing by breaking down calcifications and reducing inflammation of the affected areas.
This method has been implemented and studied for years as a potential alternative treatment for various musculoskeletal conditions. It has proven effective in reducing recovery times when used in conjunction with typical treatment options like physical therapy and injections.
Shockwave therapy is a big boon for sports medicine as the constant strenuous activity can lead to damage to an athlete’s body. This is particularly difficult for them because in order to compete at their highest level, athletes require regular training. Physical injuries can not only hinder their ability to perform, but also prevent them from getting better due to the lack of continuous practice. The shorter recovery times afforded by shockwave therapy sessions mean that they can get back to their peak physical form faster and go back to competing sooner.
Here are just some sports that benefit greatly from the option of Shockwave Therapy.
Volleyball and Basketball
One of the biggest problems faced by volleyball and basketball players is patellar tendinopathy. Also known as jumper’s knee, this condition is caused by damage and inflammation in the insertion between the patellar tendon and the kneecap itself.
This condition is primarily caused by repetitive action that wears down the area. Volleyball and basketball athletes constantly need to jump to receive the ball or to take a shot. These actions over time can deal massive stress to the area. The stress leads to jumper’s knee and can take them out for a while.
Studies determined that the appearance of jumper’s knee among volleyball and basketball athletes are around 44.6% and 31.9% respectively. That’s almost half for volleyball athletes. The condition is enough to cause some athletes to quit the sport altogether and symptoms of the condition can persist even long after their athletic retirement.
Shockwave therapy can be used to ease the pain of patellar tendinopathy and can actually assist in helping athletes recover their jumping ability. As this study shows.
Professional runners have some of the highest stamina among athletes. Long marathons can stretch to tens of kilometers and the best runners can perform in record times. This constant running also mean that strain on the legs is significant.
The strain on one’s feet can lead to a whole host of conditions that can end up severely hindering a running ability of an athlete. A couple of these conditions include Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.
One of the primary causes of Achilles tendinopathy is over exertion on the ankle, which eventually leads to the Achilles tendon to become damaged or inflamed. This is actually one of the most common injuries among runners.
Research however, has shown that shockwave therapy has provided notable improvements to the recovery and pain management of people suffering from Achilles tendinopathy in small group trials. Further trials are being sought to further confirm these results.
Another major issue that runners face is plantar fasciitis. This condition is caused by the plantar fascia, a band of muscle found at the sole of your foot, becoming damages from use. This condition is typically the result of improper footwear, old shoes, or just by over exertion. This is a typical problem among amateur, enthusiast runners but professional athletes are likely to get it too. Shockwave Therapy assists in treating plantar fasciitis by stimulating the healing of the plantar fascia, and used in conjunction with the appropriate footwear can help runner get back into shape.
Football is a multifaceted sport that requires full body exertion. The strain on your body is immense and can lead to conditions we’ve previously described above and then some. For this reason, shockwave therapy is a much needed and appreciated tool in a sports doctor’s arsenal.
In 2017, for the U20 Korea World Cup, Swiss Dolorclast shockwave therapy machines (distributed in Canada by Magne-tec exclusively) was used in order to treat various musculoskeletal issues of the young players of the German national team. Carsten Hinz, the team’s primary physiotherapist provided positive feedback regarding its use, alongside manual methods, for:
- Pain in the case of insertion tendinopathies (supraspinatus, Achilles heel)
- Iliotibial band syndrome with pain at the lateral knee insertion
- Discomfort at the scar site of a healed pulled hamstring biceps femoris
- Hypertonicity of various muscles as a supplement to manual techniques, e.g. gluteus max/ med/ rectus femoris/peroneal muscles/ gastrocnemius c.lat/
- Triggerpoints ( trapezius p.d./ levator sc./ vastus med.
- Pain during muscle tensing exercises (primarily triceps surae)
- Plantar fascia primarily in the case of hypertonic calf muscle.
Rugby is a brutal sport where injuries are very common. A particularly bad tackle can pull and tear muscles and break bones. These injuries can completely put a player out of commission for the rest of the season or even permanently, with long term pain issues continuing years into their retirement.
Jean- Baptiste Grisoli, lead medic of the French National Rugby team is an early adopter of shockwave technology and speaks about its usefulness and versatility in handling the treatment of injuries. He mentions how the treatment is used to keep players maintained during physical conditioning by assisting in the management of plantar fasciitis and other chronic conditions caused by training rugby players.
Not only this, but the same shockwave treatment is being used to help athletes heal muscle tears caused by injuries occurred during games. The treatment breaks down scar tissue that eventually can lead to performance issues for the players, maintaining their peak form for longer.
Tennis is another sport that like many others, has the risk of severe, permanent injury. The sport requires frequent, repetitive movements, specifically of the arm. Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a common problem, not just in tennis but in all racquet sports. The condition is caused by damage and inflammation that stems from improper technique and overuse.
Tennis elbow is also not a condition limited to just professional athletes. Individuals in trades that require manual, repetitive arm movements are also liable to eventually suffer from it as well. Shockwave therapy, along with regular manual therapy in conjunction provides the same results on tennis elbow as it does with other cases of muscular and tendon damage: noticeable decrease pain experienced in day to day life, and reducing recovery days.
Shockwave Therapy in International Sporting Events
As further proof of Shockwave Therapy’s effectiveness in the field of sports medicine, in the 30th South East Asian Games held in Manila, Philippines, the Thai delegate for the game’s medical division offered insight on the usefulness of the therapy in administering first aid and physiotherapy services for the athletes competing.
Dr. Chakarg Pongurgsorn talks about the various conditions that shockwave therapy can treat; including all we’ve mentioned here previously. He also speaks about the therapy loosening stiff muscles, letting athletes perform better for longer during training and games. He ends by recommending that shockwave therapy should be an option considered for those who are injured or are suffering from chronic pain.
Magne-tec is the exclusive distributor of the EMS Swiss DolorClast Shockwave Therapy Machine for all of Canada. The DolorClast is the first, safest and most effective machine for performing Shockwave Therapy. For any further questions you may have, contact us here.