Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Treating Foot Ulcers in Adults With Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Can J Diabetes. 2020 Mar;44(2):196-204.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2019.05.006. Epub 2019 May 23.


Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) as a new adjuvant therapy has shown a potential capability to promote diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) healing. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of ESWT on the healing of DFUs. The Cochrane Library, PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, China Biology Medicine and reference lists were searched for studies published up to December 2018. Randomized controlled trials of any design, including ESWT for patients with DFU, were included. Two reviewers extracted data, including the wound surface area (WSA), percentage of re-epithelialization, population of complete cure and unchanged and other related outcomes. Eight randomized controlled trials (N=339) were included. ESWT was found to be associated with a greater reduction of WSA by 1.54 cm2, and increase of re-epithelialization by 26.31%. A greater population with complete cure was found at the end of treatment (risk ratio [RR] = 2.22; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.46 to 3.40); however, there was no statistically significant difference at the end of follow up (p=0.052). It can also reduce treatment inefficiency by 4.8-fold (95% CI, 0.12 to 0.37). In addition, ESWT also showed a higher superiority than hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the population for complete cure and unchanged ulcer (RR=1.83; 95% CI, 1.14 to 2.94 and RR=0.25; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.48, respectively). ESWT is a feasible adjuvant treatment for DFUs. It can effectively improve the complete cure rate, shorten the healing period of DFUs and significantly reduce treatment ineffectiveness. This can provide new therapeutic ideas for clinical practice of intractable and recurrent DFUs.

Keywords: diabetic foot ulcer; extracorporeal shock wave therapy; meta-analysis; méta-analyse; physiotherapy; physiothérapie; revue systématique; systematic review; traitement par ondes de choc extracorporelles; ulcère du pied diabétique.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome