Dr Jenny Turner speaks to GBG about Shockwave Therapy
Tendon injuries are a very common problem that can affect any age group. They are usually due to a repetitive movement across a joint as a result of people’s life styles, sporting activities or jobs.
Sore tendons cause pain and stiffness and once established can be extremely difficult to resolve. In fact, many patients end up stopping sporting or leisure activities because of these injuries and occasionally may even have to find alternative employment.
At my Sports Injury Clinic I frequently see people who have been struggling with these problems for a long time. Tennis and golfers elbow, Achilles tendon and heel pain and rotator cuff disease of the shoulder are just a few examples of chronic tendon injuries I see. Typically, people will have rested for weeks or months, but as soon as they start to undertake the activity again, the pain and stiffness returns.
What we now know is that when people develop these problems it isn’t rest that they need but a specific type of exercise called ‘eccentric’ exercise. These exercises involve the contraction of the muscle while it is lengthening and can be extremely effective. As with any treatment, they need to be performed correctly, and usually under the guidance of a physiotherapist.
When eccentric exercises fail to cure the pain, traditionally patients were offered cortisone injections or even surgery. More recently however, Shockwave therapy has become increasing popular with sports medicine clinicians and orthopedic surgeons. Shockwave therapy is a series of energetic shockwaves applied to the tendon that needs treatment. The body responds by increasing the blood circulation and metabolism in the impact area to accelerate the body’s own healing process.
It is becoming the treatment of choice in many professional sports and was a technique I used with great success on some of the athletes at the 2012 Olympics. Medical studies have shown an overall positive response rate of 77% with a maximal response at 12 weeks.
A major benefit of Shockwave is that it is non-invasive. There is no need for surgery or medications and patients don’t have to embark on a lengthy rehabilitation program or even take any time off work. A typical treatment regime would consist of three sessions, one every week.
There are effective treatments available for your injuries – so no more excuses! Exercise is the single most beneficial thing you can do for your health so don’t wait another year to get back into your fitness campaign.