Effectiveness of radial shock-wave therapy for calcific tendinitis of the shoulder: single-blind, randomized clinical study

Phys Ther. 2006 May;86(5):672-82.


Background and purpose: Radial shock-wave therapy (RSWT) is a pneumatically generated, low- to medium-energy type of shock-wave therapy. This single-blind, randomized, "less active similar therapy"-controlled study was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of RSWT for the management of calcific tendinitis of the shoulder.

Subjects: Ninety patients with radiographically verified calcific tendinitis of the shoulder were tested.

Methods: Subjects were randomly assigned to either a treatment group (n=45) or a control group (n=45). Pain and functional level were evaluated before and after treatment and at a 6-month follow-up. Radiographic modifications in calcifications were evaluated before and after treatment.

Results: The treatment group displayed improvement in all of the parameters analyzed after treatment and at the 6-month follow-up. Calcifications disappeared completely in 86.6% of the subjects in the treatment group and partially in 13.4% of subjects; only 8.8% of the subjects in the control group displayed partially reduced calcifications, and none displayed a total disappearance.

Discussion and conclusion: The results suggest that the use of RSWT for the management of calcific tendinitis of the shoulder is safe and effective, leading to a significant reduction in pain and improvement of shoulder function after 4 weeks, without adverse effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Calcinosis / complications
  • Calcinosis / diagnosis
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Calcinosis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lithotripsy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Selection
  • Radiography
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Safety
  • Shoulder Joint* / physiology
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnosis
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Tendinopathy / complications
  • Tendinopathy / diagnosis
  • Tendinopathy / diagnostic imaging
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome