New Study: Running-Related Injuries No Match for Shock Wave

January 13, 2021  |  By Elise Hamann

How do you keep your runners in motion, given that 4 out of 5 of them experience running-related injuries annually?

New Study - Running-Related Injuries No Match for Shock WaveWhile running remains one of the most popular forms of exercise worldwide, runners commonly experience injuries related to their activity of choice. With over 13 million runners crossing the finish line yearly in the U.S., it's essential to study the most effective treatments. 

The findings of a large case-cohort study were recently published in The Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery. Researchers evaluated the outcomes of 94 runners receiving Extracorporeal Pulse Activated Technology (EPAT) for running-related injuries, including plantar fasciitis and lower-extremity tendinopathy (Achilles, posterior tibialis, patellar, hamstring).

Want to delve deeper into the detailed findings of the efficacy of EPAT in the treatment of lower extremity running-related injuries? You can view the study in its entirety by going straight to the source; click here to view the complete analysis.

What is shock wave treatment and how does it help?

EPAT (Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology), also known as ESWT or shock wave therapy, is the most promising and innovative approach to treating acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain and connective tissue disorders. It's backed by evidence and is a regenerative solution proven to deliver impressive outcomes.

A wide range of evidence shows several proposed direct effects of shock waves on damaged tissue and the indirect effects of shockwaves on regulating the local metabolic and inflammatory milieu.

What are the standard treatments for running-related injuries?

Typical treatments for runner-related injuries include modified activity, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy. Other forms of intervention, including corticosteroid injection, are often sought out by runners who have not had success with typical protocols. The feasibility of corticosteroids for these conditions is debatable, given the degenerative etiology of most tendon and soft tissue conditions plus the genuine concern for further damage.

What methodology was used in the study on EPAT for running-related injuries? 

The population studied included runners with lower-extremity running-related injuries (RRI's) who sought treatment from Dr. Adam Tenforde of Spaulding Rehabilitation in Cambridge, MA at his outpatient running medical clinic. Chart reviews were performed by three authors (Matthew Mitchkash, MD, David Robinson, MD, Adam Tenforde, MD) from August 2017 to September 2019 for all patients in the study. 

For research purposes, the injury, clinical and treatment characteristics, demographics, and functional outcomes were included. A running-related injury was defined as a condition that interfered with regular training and ability to compete for over seven days.

What shock wave device and procedure was used in the study?

All practitioners used the same STORZ Medical radial pressure wave device for all treatments. Patients with hamstring tendinopathy received a minimum of 4 EPAT sessions intending to meet 4 bars of pressure. For all other conditions, EPAT treatment was used over a minimum of 3 weekly sessions, with additional sessions as needed to obtain an optimal clinical response. 

Frequency and pressure ranged from 12 to 15 Hz and 2 to 5 bar, primarily dictated by patient comfort. No topical or regional anesthetic was used during treatment, and patients were directed to stop using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and icing during treatment until final follow-up.

What did the study reveal about EPAT/ESWT for running-related injuries?

Impressive outcomes prevailed as initially hypothesized by the researchers. Overall, 74 runners (79%) met their respective minimal clinically significant difference for functional outcome measures, regardless of age, sex, body mass index, or chronic nature of the condition. 

A mean of 4 treatments resulted in a clinically favorable outcome, with 95% achieving it by 5 treatments.

In conclusion, a majority of runners with all types of lower-extremity injuries and dysfunction respond favorably to EPAT/ESWT.

If you don’t already, is it time to offer a regenerative approach like EPAT/ESWT to your patients?

Because runners incur numerous running-related injuries over time, it's vital to offer treatments that deliver impressive outcomes. Featuring regenerative technology like shock wave is a winning proposition for healthcare practitioners and patients alike.By treating patients with this scientifically proven technology, you provide a meaningful solution to those who'll appreciate the advanced care with no downtime. Having new technology like shock wave enables you to attract new patients to your practice. 

Explore how other practitioners have capitalized on shock wave therapy's power and effectiveness by visiting the healthcare provider testimonial page.

Want to know more about the importance of shock wave therapy in regenerative medicine? Take a look at its value in treating these common dysfunctions: running-related injuries, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy

With all this information about running, it's the perfect time to delve into our new resource hub dedicated to shock wave technology and its applications in foot and ankle injuries. 

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Still on the fence as to whether EPAT/ESWT is right for your medical practice? Contact us today and we’ll connect you with one of our shock wave experts.

Topics: EPAT, Research, ESWT