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Shockwave Therapy for Achilles Tendon Pain

Achilles tendon pain is one of the most common overuse injuries in the foot and ankle [1,2],

affecting approximately 6% of the general population [2] and up to 9% of recreational runners

[1]. In fact, Achilles tendon pain accounts for up to 18% of all running injuries [3]. Treatment

protocols have historically included avoiding the activities that induced pain, orthotics or

inserts, over-the-counter pain killers, stretching exercises, and eccentric training to lengthen

the Achilles tendon [4]. Although successful typically, these treatments can take several

weeks or months to take effect and may not work for everyone [5].

Several clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ESWT in treating Achilles tendon pain. In patients with chronic Achilles tendon pain, ESWT has demonstrated success at decreasing pain [6-9] and improving function [4,6,8,9] and these effects have persisted for up to a year [7]. Although the exact biological mechanisms responsible for these improvements remain unknown, ESWT is thought to stimulate soft-tissue healing [9], enhance the formation of new blood vessels [9], modify pain reception [9], and modulate the production of growth factors and collagen [10].


2. Chimenti RL et al. Current Concepts Review Update: Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy. Foot Ankle Int. 2017 Oct;38(10):1160-1169.

5. Scott A. et al. Conservative Treatment of Chronic Achilles Tendinopathy. CMAJ. 2011 Jul 12;183(10):1159-65.

6. Carulli C, et al. Effectiveness Of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy in Three Major Tendon Diseases. J Orthop Traumatol. 2016 Mar;17(1):15-20.


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