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Morgan, James P. M.; Hamm, Mario; Schmitz, Christoph and Brem, Matthias H. (2021): Return to play after treating acute muscle injuries in elite football players with radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy. In: Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, Vol. 16, No. 1, 708

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Background To compare lay-off times achieved by treating acute muscle injuries in elite football players with a multimodal therapy approach that includes a specific protocol of almost daily radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy (rESWT) with corresponding data reported in the literature. Methods We performed a retrospective analysis of treatments and recovery times of muscle injuries suffered by the players of an elite football team competing in the first/second German Bundesliga during one of the previous seasons. Results A total of 20 acute muscle injuries were diagnosed and treated in the aforementioned season, of which eight (40%) were diagnosed as Type 1a/muscular tightness injuries, five (25%) as Type 2b/muscle strain injuries, four (20%) as Type 3a/partial muscle tear injuries and three (15%) as contusions. All injuries were treated with the previously mentioned multimodal therapy approach. Compared with data reported by Ekstrand et al. (Br J Sports Med 47:769-774, 2013), lay-off times (median/mean) were shortened by 54% and 58%, respectively, in the case of Type 1a injuries, by 50% and 55%, respectively, in the case of Type 2b injuries as well as by 8% and 21%, respectively, in the case of Type 3a injuries. No adverse reactions were observed. Conclusions Overall, the multimodal therapy approach investigated in this study is a safe and effective treatment approach for treating Type 1a and 2b acute muscle injuries amongst elite football players and may help to prevent more severe, structural muscle injuries.

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