Malcolm Read Scholarship Winner 2015 – Dr Bethan Griffiths

Dr and F/T Postgraduate Student


Radial extra-corporeal shock wave therapy (rESWT) for hamstring injuries

Hamstring muscle injury, characterised by posterior thigh pain and weakness in the hamstring muscles, is a common injury with a major impact on sport through time loss and association with high recurrence rates. Scientific evidence for management protocols is lacking. The study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of Radial Extra-corporeal Shockwave Therapy (rESWT) for the treatment of unilateral sub-acute and chronic hamstring muscle injuries.

A single centre cohort/case series of 37 patients treated with an individually adapted rESWT protocol. Hamstring muscle function was assessed pre- and post-treatment. Pain scores were evaluated at baseline, immediately after treatment, at 1 month, 3 months and 1 year post-treatment completion. Pre-treatment symptom duration and recurrence rate at 1 year were evaluated.

Significant reduction in pain score and functional improvement were found between baseline and all follow-up assessments (p < 0.001). Pre-treatment pain duration was not correlated significantly with the number of rESWT sessions applied (r=-0.003, p=0.987) however was positively, and significantly correlated with 1 year post treatment pain score (r=0.355, p=0.031). The recurrence rate at 1 year follow up was 24.3% (9 patients).

The study demonstrates high success rates and low recurrence rates at 1 year following treatment of HMI with rESWT. The use of an
individualised treatment protocol based on patient- guided feedback is advocated.

The results provide initial promise for the use of rESWT in the treatment of HMI and supports further randomised control trials in this area.

I would like to thank BASEM for the support given. I would also like to acknowledge the co-authors of the study; Dr N Malliaropoulos, Ms M Meke and Prof H Lohrer.

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