Effectiveness of Shockwave Treatment Combined With Eccentric Training for Patellar Tendinopathy: A Double-Blinded Randomized Study

Clin J Sport Med. 2017 Mar;27(2):89-96. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000332.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a combined treatment of focused shockwave therapy (ESWT) and eccentric training compared with sham-shockwave therapy (placebo) and eccentric training in participants with patellar tendinopathy (PT) after 24 weeks.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Sports medicine departments of a university hospital and a general hospital in the Netherlands.

Participants: Fifty-two physically active male and female participants with a clinical diagnosis of PT (mean age: 28.6 years; range, 18-45) were randomly allocated to the ESWT (n = 22) or sham shockwave (n = 30).

Interventions: Extracorporeal shockwave therapy and sham shockwave were applied in 3 sessions at 1-week intervals with a piezoelectric device. All participants were instructed to perform eccentric exercises (3 sets of 15 repetitions twice a day) for 3 months on a decline board at home.

Main outcome measures: The Victorian Institute of Sport Assessment-Patella (VISA-P) scores (primary), pain scores during functional knee loading tests, and Likert score (secondary) were registered at baseline and at 6, 12, and 24 weeks after the start with the ESWT or sham-shockwave treatment.

Results: No significant differences for the primary and secondary outcome measures were found between the groups. In the ESWT/eccentric group, the VISA-P increased from 54.5 ± 15.4 to 70.9 ± 17.8, whereas the VISA-P in the sham-shockwave/eccentric group increased from 58.9 ± 14.6 to 78.2 ± 15.8 (between-group change in VISA-P at 24 weeks -4.8; 95% confidence interval, -12.7 to 3.0, P = 0.150).

Conclusions: This study showed no additional effect of 3 sessions ESWT in participants with PT treated with eccentric exercises. The results should be interpreted with caution because of small sample size and considerable loss to follow-up, particularly in the ESWT group.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patellar Ligament / radiation effects*
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult