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Br J Sports Med. 2009 Mar;43(3):163-8. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2008.050740. Epub 2008 Aug 21.

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for patellar tendinopathy: a review of the literature.

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Center for Sports Medicine, University Center for Sport, Exercise and Health, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.



Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (EWST) has become a popular treatment for patellar tendinopathy. The purpose of this review was to study the effectiveness of ESWT treatment for patellar tendinopathy; to draft guidelines for an effective treatment protocol of ESWT treatment; and to identify topics for further research.


A computerised search of the Medline and Embase databases was conducted on 1 August 2007, to identify studies dealing with the effectiveness of ESWT for patellar tendinopathy.


Seven articles describing the effectiveness of ESWT on patellar tendinopathy, all published after 2000, were included. These studies included a total of 283 patients (298 tendons), 204 of whom (215 tendons) were assigned to ESWT treatment. The treatment results were positive but most studies had methodological deficiencies, small numbers and/or short follow-up periods. Method of application and shockwave generation, energy level, number and frequency of treatments, use of (local) anaesthesia and method of localisation were variable.


ESWT seems to be a safe and promising treatment for patellar tendinopathy with a positive effect on pain and function. Based on current knowledge it is impossible to recommend a specific treatment protocol. Further basic and clinical research into the working mechanism and effectiveness of ESWT for patellar tendinopathy are necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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