Effectiveness of extracorporeal shockwave therapy in three major tendon diseases

J Orthop Traumatol. 2016 Mar;17(1):15-20. doi: 10.1007/s10195-015-0361-z. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


Background: Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is a conservative treatment for several painful musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of the study was the assessment of the relief from pain by the shockwave therapy in a population of consecutive patients affected by specific pathologies.

Materials and methods: A group of consecutive patients were studied and treated. They were affected by calcific tendonitis of the shoulder (129 patients), chronic Achilles tendinopathy (102 patients), and lateral epicondylitis of the elbow (80 subjects). Each patient had 3 applications with a monthly interval, and was followed up at 1, 6, and 12 months after treatment. Results were evaluated by the numeric rating scale (NRS) in all cases, the Constant Murley Score for the assessment of the shoulder function, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society Score for subjects affected by chronic Achilles tendinopathy, and the Oxford Elbow Score for those affected by a lateral epicondylitis of the elbow.

Results: One year after treatment, the results were considered satisfactory with an almost complete resolution of symptoms. There were statistically significant results at the 12-month follow-ups regarding the mean NRS score (from 6.25 to 0.2), the Constant Murley Score (from 66.7 to 79.4), the Oxford Elbow Score (from 28 to 46), and the AOFAS (from 71 to 86).

Conclusions: Extracorporeal shockwave therapy may be considered a safe, economic, and effective treatment for several chronic musculoskeletal disorders, allowing satisfactory pain relief and improvement of function ability.

Level of evidence: Level IV.

Keywords: Achilles tendinopathy; Calcific tendonitis of the shoulder; Epicondylitis; Extracorporeal shockwave.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ankle Joint
  • Arthralgia / etiology
  • Arthralgia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder Joint
  • Tendinopathy / complications
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult