Radial shock waves therapy (RSWT) differs from extracorporeal shock waves therapy (ESWT) in that it produces a non-focused wave that is dissipated radially at the skin. Few studies have yet explored the effects of RSWT on bone tissue. Osteoblasts in culture flasks were studied by polymerase chain reaction after treatment with RSW (500 impulses, 0.05 mJ/mm(2)). An inhibited osteoblastogenesis was observed, with a statistically significant reduction in type 1 collagen, osterix, bone sialoprotein and receptor activator NF kappa ligand expression at 24 and 48 h, of osteocalcin at 24, 48 and 72 h, and osteopontin at 48 and 72 h. These findings show that RSWT is not indicated for treatment of delayed fracture union, pseudoarthrosis, and complex regional pain syndrome. The observed reduction in the receptor activator of nuclear factor-kB ligand/osteoprotegerin ratio suggests that it has an inhibiting effect on osteoclastogenesis, which could make it a useful tool for applications in proliferative diseases.