Extracorporeal shock wave therapy mechanisms in musculoskeletal regenerative medicine

J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2020 May;11(Suppl 3):S309-S318. doi: 10.1016/j.jcot.2020.02.004. Epub 2020 Feb 12.


Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a popular non-invasive therapeutic modality in the medical field for the treatment of numerous musculoskeletal disorders. This technique first emerged around the 1980s as extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy and has been studied since then for its application towards orthopedics and traumatology. ESWT works by the emission of acoustic waves (shockwaves) that carry energy and can propagate through tissues. Shockwaves can generate interstitial and extracellular responses, producing many beneficial effects such as: pain relief, vascularization, protein biosynthesis, cell proliferation, neuro and chondroprotection, and destruction of calcium deposits in musculoskeletal structures. The combination of these effects can lead to tissue regeneration and significant alleviation of pain, improving functional outcomes in injured tissue. Considering these facts, ESWT shows great potential as a useful regenerative medicine technique for the treatment of numerous musculoskeletal injuries.

Keywords: Inflammation; Musculoskeletal disorders; Regeneration; Shockwave.

Publication types

  • Review