AN OLYMPIAN who is currently training for the London 2012 Olympics has credited Basingstoke medics with helping to keep alive her dream of taking part in the Games.

Hockey player Crista Cullen, who has won more than 150 international caps and appeared at The Beijing Olympic Games, has been treated for a chronic foot injury at private hospital BMI The Hampshire Clinic, in Old Basing.

The 26-year-old has been suffering with excruciating pain in the underside of the foot known as chronic Plantar Fasciitis and, with the Olympics fast approaching, was keen to find an effective treatment.

Despite undergoing an intensive course of physiotherapy and having orthotics fitted to her hockey shoes, it was decided the best way to treat the full-back was for her to undergo a course of extracorporeal shockwave therapy, ESWT, at the clinic.

Consultant foot and ankle surgeon Mr Robin Elliot, of Basingstoke hospital, James Calder, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Chelsea and Westminster hospital, and sports medicine consultants Dr Mike Rossiter and Dr Mark Wotherspoon, who practice at The Hampshire Clinic, were among the team who treated the athlete at the clinic.

During the treatment shockwaves are passed through the skin, prompting an inflammatory response in the injured tissue which in turn makes the body increase blood circulation, the number of blood vessels and therefore metabolism in the injured tissue. The process accelerates the body’s natural healing response.

Having had three 10-minute treatment sessions during a three-week period, the pain in Crista’s foot has been reduced and the hockey player is now training hard and hoping to help Team GB win a gold medal.

Crista, from Lincolnshire, said: “I still have the Plantar Fasciitis but the shockwave therapy has definitely reduced the amount of pain I’m experiencing, and that allows me to focus on my game, rather than getting distracted by the pain in my foot.

“I’m really grateful to Mike Rossiter and the team because this treatment has made a meaningful difference, and I’ve been able to continue my training all the way through the treatment process.”

Mr Rossiter described Crista’s treatment as “very successful”.

He said: “I’m a real advocate of shockwave therapy because it’s non-invasive. There are no side-effects and patients can continue with their normal routine and stay active. It’s a real breakthrough for treating chronic soft tissue injuries and avoiding surgery.”

The team at BMI The Hampshire Clinic are using ESWT to treat soft tissue injuries in the feet, heels, knees, elbows and shoulders.