How often is your medical practice treating patients who suffer from Achilles tendinopathy?
Achilles tendinopathy is among the most common foot/ankle injuries in sports medicine today. This painful condition arises when repeated tears to the tendon fibers occur because they cannot adapt to the strains being placed on them.
While this injury is particularly common among runners and active populations, less-active adults are also affected. Patient groups typically include men and women over 30 years of age.
For patients seeking relief from the pain and inflammation associated with this debilitating overuse injury, they are looking for ways to get back to an active, healthy lifestyle.
What treatment protocols exist for Achilles tendinopathy patients?
Standard treatment for Achilles tendinopathy may include activities such as eccentric loading, stretching, heel-lifts, avoidance of painful activity as well as the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Typically, surgical treatment for Achilles tendinopathy is reserved for those for whom more conservative remedies are unsuccessful.
An increasing number of physicians are also incorporating a combined approach that uses ESWT (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, also known as Focused Shock Wave) and RSW (Radial Sound Wave, also known as Radial Pressure Wave). The benefits of this approach are highlighted in a recent study that we’ll dive into below.
Achilles Tendinopathy Rehabilitation: A Combined Approach for Pain Relief
A prospective study featured in The Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons Online Journal explores the usage of dual modalities while treating Achilles Tendinopathy. Researchers demonstrate that the noted combination modalities delivered significantly improved outcomes when compared with either singular method.
Historically, many studies have focused on the efficacy of RSW or FSW/Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) used independently as safe, effective options for conservative treatment. This newer study focuses on the power of combining both modalities for superior outcomes in the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy.
What methodology was used in combining RSW and ESWT modalities to treat Achilles tendinopathy?
Consider the system of methods used in the current study:
- observed a cohort of 24 patients, who received both treatments, mean age of 47.2±12.8 years at the time of study
- each patient received three treatments initially
- subsequent treatments at 6 and/or 12 week follow up
- documentation of pre- and post-treatment VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) and R&M (Roles & Maudsley) scores
The study, which demonstrates improved results with combination therapy using RSW and ESWT, is then compared to previous studies' outcomes.
Why should you add this treatment method to your continuum of care?
For medical professionals looking to grow their practice and improve patient outcomes, the study emphasizes the efficacy of a combined approach that uses both ESWT and RSW to treat Achilles tendinopathy and patients with other acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
STUDY RESULTS: Pre-treatment VAS score was 6.3±1.3 and RM score was 3.5±0.5. Ultimately, these were reduced to 1.2±1.6 (P=0.00001) and 1.6±0.9 (P=0.00001) respectively at 17±4.5-month follow up.
The combined approach explored within the study offers a premium solution to patients who struggle from the pain and limitations of Achilles tendinopathy. In the final analysis, 50% or more of participants with follow up at 17-24 months post-treatment had complete pain relief and full return to activity.
You can examine the finer points of this research by reading the full report. It’s all explained right here — just click here to access the complete prospective study.
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Have some questions or want to explore more about the full benefits of EPAT/ESWT?
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