Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Achilles Tendinopathy

Biomed Res Int. 2019 Dec 26;2019:3086910. doi: 10.1155/2019/3086910. eCollection 2019.


Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is among the conservative treatments for Achilles tendinopathy. Unfortunately, no optimal application parameters have been determined that would ensure ESWT effectiveness in this condition. The aim of the paper is to use research reports on ESWT in patients with Achilles tendinopathy to help practising physiotherapists establish the most effective intervention parameters. A search was conducted using the following databases: PubMed, Scopus, EBSCOhost, and Web of Science. The papers were checked for relevant content and were included based on the following criteria: full-text article published in English and including comprehensive description of shock wave application. Twenty-two articles met the inclusion criteria. Most studies on the effectiveness of ESWT for Achilles tendinopathy included in this narrative review were randomized controlled trials. Two case-control studies, a case series study, prospective audit, clinical trial protocol, and a pilot study were also considered. The majority were prospective studies. Only a few authors presented the findings from retrospective observations. The two modalities of shock wave therapy used for Achilles tendinopathy are focused shock waves and radial shock waves. The literature contains reports presenting mainly beneficial effects of ESWT in patients with Achilles tendinopathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / physiopathology
  • Achilles Tendon / radiation effects*
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy / methods*
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Tendinopathy / physiopathology
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome