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All-in-one portable device to treat common sports injuries to be further developed with university research

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A company is drawing on university research to further develop a portable tech-enabled device that can cool, heat and compress muscles to treat common sports injuries.

The lightweight Swellaway, a shin guard-type electronic-enabled device with a fan that clips around the affected body part, does not require ice, water or heavy items of equipment that are normally needed to treat such injuries.

Swellaway shareholders include professional footballer Wayne Rooney, of Everton, Manchester United, D.C. United and England fame, who is the lead investor in the company that bears the product’s name.

The innovative piece of kit allows physiotherapists and healthcare professionals to accurately treat injuries through controlled compression, combined with cooling and heating in a fully portable device for the first time.

To draw upon the skillsets of researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Swellaway’s shareholders have sponsored a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) – where academic expertise is applied to private sector product development or work processes – so that Manchester Metropolitan University’s Professor James Selfe can work along Professor Jim Richards from UCLan to help further develop the device.

James Selfe, Professor of Physiotherapy and lead academic from Manchester Metropolitan, said: “Traditionally, there has been a lack of devices that provide all-in-one solutions to common sports injuries.”

“Our research will provide evidence as to what the best dose response is for the device. By the end of the project, we hope to have a number of protocols that will guide practitioners to optimum use of this device. We also hope to see improved patient outcomes as a result of its use.”

UCLan’s Professor of Biomechanics Jim Richards said: “The exploration of the interaction between temperature and pressure, using the Swellaway device, provides an opportunity to explore the optimisation of treatment through a better understanding of the relationship between these factors.”