Alyson Dixon is a marathon runner and Olympian. Aly qualified for a place in the Rio Olympics after becoming the fastest British woman to finish the 2016 London Marathon!
In September 2019 Dixon won the 50km world championship in Brasov, Romania setting a world record time of just 3:07:20.
Before she achieved these impressive feats however, Aly had had to drop out of the 2014 Commonwealth Games due to an Achilles tendon injury. The Achilles tendon runs up the back of the heel to the ankle, and Achilles tendinopathy can occur when the tendon is put under strain that it struggles to adapt to. This leads to small “micro-injuries” to the tendon, which grow over time into lasting pain and reduced foot mobility.
This is a common running injury or generally related to over use. Patients report pain, stiffness, thickening and sometimes swelling that makes it difficult to move. It’s estimated that around 150,000 people are affected by Achilles tendinopathy every year.
Aly visited Venn Healthcare’s Stand at Therapy Expo where she shared her former successful experiences with STORZ MEDICAL Shockwave for her Achilles treated by Physio&Therapy UK – Paul Hobrough
Shockwave Therapy to Treat Achilles Tendinopathy
Dr Jens Lundgren (doctor of Naprapathy, lecturer & teacher specialising in Shockwave Therapy ESWT) treated Olympian Aly Dixon’s Achilles tendinopathy using a holistic shockwave approach. He combined Focused Shockwave Therapy F-SW (Storz T-Top Device) to treat the exact area and pathology, then he moved on to Radial Shockwave Therapy R-SW (using the Storz Falcon handpiece, with various transmitters) to treat the entire tendon, tense fascia and trigger points. He then finished with the V-Actor vibration therapy to massage the area and reduce pain.
Aly Dixon presents with mid portion Achilles tendonitis with thickening of the tendon and a change of internal structure. Aly runs up to 120 miles per week, so this is clearly an overuse injury. For Tendonitis Shockwave therapy ESWT will enhance the capacity of the body to heal itself. In the short term shockwave therapy provides pain relief and in the long term shockwave increases function.
Dr Lundgren started the treatment with focused shockwave as it has a more targeted and specific energy output, and used it to treat the precise area and the exact pathology. He used the stand-off applicator as without the stand-off, the focused treatment depth would be approximately 55mm. As the Achilles is close to the surface, the stand-off reduces the treatment depth to approximately 1cm.
He carefully located the most tender point and stayed in verbal contact with Aly so she can update him on the pain level. This is to ensure he is in the right area and that the pain is manageable, he was able to adjust the settings directly at the Storz Focused handpiece, which saved time and prevented him losing the precise area. He stresses the importance of patient feedback to ensure you are on the right area. Aly reported the pain as 6 out of 10, which is at the ideal level. He carried on with 500 shots or until the pain decreased.
Following the focused treatment he moved onto the radial shockwave Storz Falcon handpiece. He used this to treat the entire tendon. These radial pressure waves are more superficial and can treat a larger area as well as increasing circulation. He treated at all different angles and applied pressure to the foot to tighten the tendon. Changing the transmitter he then treated the tense fascia and trigger points with radial shockwave. This final transmitter is most suited to myofascial treatments.
Finally Dr Lundgren moved onto the V-Actor Vibration handpiece to relax and massage the area at a hertz of 25 or more. This part of the treatment is pain free and can be used before of after the shockwave treatment, either to ‘warm up’ the area if they are particularly tender, or to relax the are after treatment.
“Shockwave was the one treatment that kept my Achilles Tendonopathy at bay, allowing me to continue to train and compete.”
— ALY DIXON, OLYMPIAN BRITISH MARATHON CHAMPION 2016 & 2017