Influence of medical shock waves on healthy muscle tissue.
Vincent KC1,2, , d’Agostino C3, Schaden W4,5, Karalus P1, Grant L1
1Kompass GW Sports Medicine (Victoria, Australia), 2 Kompass Health Associates
(Auckland, New Zealand) 3Rehabilitation Department, Humanitas Research Hospital (Milan,
Italy), 4AUVA Trauma Centre, 5Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental & Clinical
Traumatology (Vienna, Austria).
Competitive sport requires each athlete to be at peak performance at all times. This
is often a challenging task to manage, as overuse and fatigue syndromes often
impede performance. For over a decade shockwave therapy (SWT) have been
utilised successfully to manage sports injuries.1 Our investigation aimed to determine
the effects of SWT on muscle tissue of healthy subjects.
Four golfers and weighlifters were recruited for this project. Weightlifter baseline (BS)
and post-intervention (PI) data was collected from activation patterns of six muscles
over five repetitions of a 120kg loaded back-squat. Personal-best (PB) back-squat
records of each weightlifter was noted and compared PI. Golfers hit 20 balls with a 7-
iron and each swing speed, club-ball interface, and ball distance was measured
utilising FlightScope®. 500 acoustic impulses were administered over selected
muscles relevant to each sport over two session conducted at two week intervals
utilising an electrohydraulic generator (OrthoGold-100). PI data was collected at
Golf - increases in both swing speed and ball distance was noted in each golfer with
the mean average (MA) recorded as being: Swing-speed (BS: 140.21km/h – PI:
147.12km/h), club-ball interface (BS: 1.32m/sec – PI: 1.46m/sec), Ball distance (BS:
143.25m – PI: 167.4m). Weightlifting – sEMG activation patterns recorded the
following averages over six different muscles throughout each back-squat (BS:
1588.08üv/backsquat – PI: 1322.87üv/back-squat). PB back-squat score avg. (BS:
340kgs – PI: 401kgs).
Our observations utilising sport specific measurements suggests that SWT had a
positive influence on muscle output and performance. Although an overall
improvement in performance was observed in both sporting disciplines and in each
athlete, but of note was the reduced muscle expenditure required to complete a
similar task PI, as observed in weightlifting. From what that has been presently
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elucidated of the positive mechanotransductive impact of SWT on human tissue1. It
is plausible to suggest that SWT modulates a favourable biocellular and molecular
response in muscle tissue,1 offering the potential to reduce, even prevent overuse
syndromes in sports. This case report has its limitations (eg. small sample size)
however the observations are encouraging and opens new possibilities in sports
science and medicine, inviting further investigation and collaboration in this area.
1. d’Agostino CM, Craig K, Tibalt E & Respizzi S. Shock wave as biological therapeutic
tool: From mechanical stimulation to recovery and healing, through
mechanotransduction. Int J Surg. 2015; 24(Pt B):147-153.