Background: High-energy extracorporeal shock wave therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic insertional Achilles tendinopathy. The results of high-energy shock wave therapy for chronic noninsertional Achilles tendinopathy have not been determined.
Hypothesis: Shock wave therapy is an effective treatment for noninsertional Achilles tendinopathy.
Study design: Case control study; Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: Thirty-four patients with chronic noninsertional Achilles tendinopathy were treated with a single dose of high-energy shock wave therapy (shock wave therapy group; 3000 shocks; 0.21 mJ/mm(2); total energy flux density, 604 mJ/mm(2)). Thirty-four patients with chronic noninsertional Achilles tendinopathy were treated not with shock wave therapy but with additional forms of nonoperative therapy (control group). All shock wave therapy procedures were performed using regional anesthesia. Evaluation was by change in visual analog score and by Roles and Maudsley score.
Results: One month, 3 months, and 12 months after treatment, the mean visual analog scores for the control and shock wave therapy groups were 8.4 and 4.4 (P < .001), 6.5 and 2.9 (P < .001), and 5.6 and 2.2 (P < .001), respectively. At final follow-up, the number of excellent, good, fair, and poor results for the shock wave therapy and control groups were 12 and 0 (P < .001), 17 and 9 (P < .001), 5 and 17 (P < .001), and 0 and 8 (P < .001), respectively. A chi(2) analysis revealed that the percentage of patients with excellent ("1") or good ("2") Roles and Maudsley scores, that is, successful results, 12 months after treatment was statistically greater in the shock wave therapy group than in the control group (P < .001).
Conclusion: Shock wave therapy is an effective treatment for chronic noninsertional Achilles tendinopathy.