Background and purpose: Extracorporeal shockwave therapy has become a popular treatment for patellar tendinopathy. The purpose of this review was to study the effectiveness of ESWT treatment for patellar tendinopathy and to draft guidelines for an effective treatment protocol of ESWT treatment. We also want to identify topics for further research.
Methods: A computerized search of the Medline and Embase databases was conducted on August 1, 2007, to identify studies dealing with the effectiveness of ESWT for patellar tendinopathy.
Results: We included seven articles describing the effectiveness of ESWT on patellar tendinopathy, all published after 2000. 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 localization were variable.
Conclusion: ESWT seems to be a safe and promising treatment for patellar tendinopathy with a positive effect on pain and function. Based on the 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.