By: 24 March 2021
England rugby star treated with pioneering Swiss combination therapy

One of England’s top rugby players has cured his chronic heel pain with a pioneering new combination therapy from Switzerland.

Jamie George, who plays hooker for Saracens, England and The British & Irish Lions, suffered from chronic plantar fasciitis for two years.

The condition, one of the most common complaints in runners, classically causes stabbing foot pains and can be debilitating.

At its worst, it left Jamie in so much pain that he would limp off after a training session on the club’s artificial pitch.

Jamie, 30, who has over 50 caps for England, said: “‘I suffered with heel pain for two years, mainly caused from constantly alternating between grass and artificial playing surfaces.”

Rhys Carter, physiotherapist and director of The Carter & George practices in Hoddesdon and Radlett in Hertfordshire, treated Jamie with a new Laser and Shock Wave combination therapy concept, Guided DolorClast Therapy, from Swiss medical company EMS, that helps treat musculoskeletal pain.

The treatment is supplied by medical products specialist Algeos, which provides innovative products to those in the Podiatry, Physiotherapy, Orthotics and Prosthetics markets.

Musculoskeletal injuries are described by patients as highly painful, especially in their acute phase. Opioid medications or sedatives are often prescribed.

This alternative, safe and non-invasive treatment works by combing radial and focused shock waves with high-power laser therapies to reduce inflammation and pain, stimulate tissue regeneration, increase blood flow and break down scar tissue, thus increasing the speed of recovery.

Up to 90% of patients suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder can be quickly and safely treated with the new concept.

Clinical research has shown that Guided DolorClast Therapy can deliver better results than traditional treatments such as steroid injections. It is being used to treat a number of conditions including tennis elbow, back pain, anterior knee pain, knee osteoarthritis and plantar fasciopathy. Algeos also provide rehab products that can support the GDT concept.

A number of Premiership rugby and football clubs in the UK are already using the cutting-edge technology. It has also been used by Olympic gold medallist Alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic long-distance runner Zane Robertson, top Norwegian golfer Suzann Pettersen and Australian professional golfer Stuart Appelby.

Jamie, who was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis after an ultrasound scan, said: “Rhys suggested we treated it with shockwave therapy, which I have had before, but he also suggested the use of laser prior to using the shockwave. He explained that the analgesic effect of the laser would allow him to get more pressure from the shockwave, which in turn should accelerate the healing process.

“Alongside a stringent stretching and strengthening programme, devised by our strength and conditioning team at Saracens, I had four sessions of Laser and Shockwave each separated by a week.

“By the end of the fourth week, I had experienced a 60% improvement in pain, particularly after training and first thing in the morning. I continued the strength training for another month and would estimate a 95% recovery now, with only mild discomfort after a game on an artificial pitch. This used to cause so much pain that I would limp.

“I would thoroughly recommend the laser and shockwave treatment for any particularly stubborn injuries, and I know where to go if my pain ever returns.”

Rhys, who says Jamie no longer has heel pain, said: “Jamie reported his pain was worse in the morning, particularly after training or a game, and that it gradually worsened over the course of the season, with mild improvement during off season.

“On objective examination, there was point tenderness over the insertion of the plantar tendon and there was evident tendinopathic changes in the plantar tendon, in keeping with plantar fasciitis.

“This injury can take up to three months to recover and required a combination of new laser and shockwave combination therapy with a progressive strengthening programme done in conjunction with his strength and conditioning coaches at his club.

“I used the new EMS Radial Shockwave Therapy device and the new EMS high powered laser to carry out the GDT protocol.

“I also worked closely with the Saracens strength and conditioning coaches to devise a series of ‘short foot’ intrinsic foot strengthening exercises, eccentric soleus strengthening and calf stretching. We also recommended gentle rolling of the arch of the foot with a tennis ball.

“The results were exceptionally good. Jamie reported a 60% improvement in symptoms after four weeks of treatment, which included 4 sessions of GDT and strength sessions every other day. In reality, a 60% improvement resulted in an improvement of pain symptoms after training and matches on the artificial surface, as well as a reduced pain on barefoot walking first thing in the morning.

“Following a one-month gap of treatment with GDT, there was continued improvement reported by Jamie with no pain after training or matches and no pain in the morning when bare foot walking at the eight-week mark since beginning treatment. We stopped treating at this point as the initial problem had resolved.”

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Image: From left Rhys Carter with Jamie George