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Bone Joint J. 2013 Nov;95-B(11):1521-6. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.95B11.31879.

Radial extracorporeal shock-wave therapy in patients with chronic rotator cuff tendinitis: a prospective randomised double-blind placebo-controlled multicentre trial.

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Rijnland Ziekenhuis Leiderdorp, Simon Smitweg 1, 2350 CC Leiderdorp, the Netherlands.


The aim of this study was to determine the effect of radial extracorporeal shock-wave therapy (rESWT) on patients with chronic tendinitis of the rotator cuff. This was a randomised controlled trial in which 82 patients (mean age 47 years (24 to 67)) with chronic tendinitis diagnosed clinically were randomly allocated to a treatment group who received low-dose rESWT (three sessions at an interval 10 to 14 days, 2000 pulses, 0.11 mJ/mm(2), 8 Hz) or to a placebo group, with a follow-up of six months. The patients and the treating orthopaedic surgeon, who were both blinded to the treatment, evaluated the results. A total of 44 patients were allocated to the rESWT group and 38 patients to the placebo group. A visual analogue scale (VAS) score for pain, a Constant-Murley (CMS) score and a simple shoulder test (SST) score significantly improved in both groups at three and six months compared with baseline (all p ≤ 0.012). The mean VAS was similar in both groups at three (p = 0.43) and six months (p = 0.262). Also, the mean CMS and SST scores were similar in both groups at six months (p = 0.815 and p = 0.834, respectively). It would thus seem that low-dose rESWT does not reduce pain or improve function in patients chronic rotator cuff tendinitis compared with placebo treatment.


Chronic rotator cuff tendinitis; Lithotripsy; Radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy; Rotator cuff tendinopathy; Shock wave

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