Prognostic factors of extracorporeal shock wave therapy for tendinopathies

Musculoskelet Surg. 2016 Apr;100(1):53-61. doi: 10.1007/s12306-015-0375-y. Epub 2015 May 16.


Introduction: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is very widely used for the management of tendinopathies and plantar fasciitis.

Aim: The aim of the study is to determine whether there are prognostic factors that may influence the outcome of extracorporeal shock wave therapy for these diseases.

Methods: Three hundred fifty-five patients were analyzed 2 months after shock wave treatment for rotator cuff tendinitis, epicondylitis, Achilles tendinopathy, trocanteritis, jumper's knee or plantar fasciitis. We recorded the epidemiological, clinical and treatment protocol, and these data were correlated with treatment outcome.

Results: Clinical improvement was achieved in 45.9 % of these patients. We discovered that laterality different to the dominant limb (p < 0.0001) and repeated shock wave treatments (p = 0.004) are prognostic factors in an unsuccessful therapy, while being male (p = 0.015) and a high body mass index (p = 0.004) are factors for success. We found no differences in relation to age, diet, blood type, work or sport activity, presence of co-morbidities, drugs, type of tendinopathy, density of energy delivered and other physiotherapy treatment. Knowledge of these prognostic factors may lead to improved insight for physicians and physiotherapists to predict the extent of the recovery and adjust rehabilitation and patient expectations accordingly.

Keywords: Prognosis; Risk factor; Shock waves; Tendinopathy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome