Diathermy: rapid treatment of tendonitis and muscle breakdown

Written by: Top Doctors®
Published: | Updated: 11/04/2023
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Diathermy is the introduction of an electric current to stimulate heat generation within the body’s tissues.  It is a high frequency electric current that is transferred between two electrodes placed on the patient’s skin. With this system, a specialist can optimise the concentration of energy at different levels of depth in the tissues (from the skin to the bone). Electrolytic cell exchange allows tissue balance. The thermal action of a diathermy reduces the sensation of pain and stimulates tissue regeneration through an increase in the vascular blood supply. In this way, the recovery time after injury is reduced thanks to the increased metabolism in the tissues caused by the increase in temperature.

What is diathermy?

Diathermy is a physical rehabilitation treatment that stimulates different damaged tissues (muscle, tendon, fat, skin etc.), increasing its local temperature. This increases vascularisation and the repair of blood flow. The patient only notices a slight heat in the treated area during diathermy. This treatment does not require anaesthesia or punctures and there is no irradiation, so it is suitable for all types of patients.

Unlike other physical rehabilitation methods (ultrasound, Tens etc.), diathermy is able to reach and stimulate deeper tissues in the injured area. With 30-minute sessions of Diathermy over 4/6 days, it is possible to accelerate the period of recovery of muscle-tendinous lesions.


When is diathermy necessary?

Diathermy is performed by physiotherapist and has various applications in orthopaedics. The most common are:

Tendinitis (acute and chronic): shoulder, elbow, wrist, etc.

Ligament-articular sprains, bursitis, synovitis: ankle, knee, etc.

Muscle injuries (breaks, scars, etc.): thigh, calves, etc.

Muscle contracture (neck pain, back pain, low back pain).

The difference with other musculotendinous rehabilitation techniques (ultrasound, Tens, laser, etc.) is the shortening of recovery time and the possibility of combining diathermy with manual treatments (massages, Cyriax, etc.).



By Topdoctors
Sports medicine

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