Analysis of pain intensity and postural control for assessing the efficacy of shock wave therapy and sonotherapy in Achilles tendinopathy – A randomized controlled trial


      • Pain-relieving effects of shock wave therapy in Achilles tendinopathy were observed.
      • Relationship existed between radial shock wave therapy and better postural control.
      • Posturography may contribute to functional assessment of the Achilles tendon.



      The troublesome symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy prompt patients to seek effective forms of conservative treatment. The main aim of the study was to determine the therapeutic efficacy of shock wave and ultrasound therapies for Achilles tendinopathy in reducing pain intensity. Treatment efficacy was also assessed using objective posturographic measurements.


      Thirty-nine patients patients were randomly allocated to one of three experimental groups that received shock wave therapy (group A), ultrasound therapy (group B) and placebo ultrasound (group C). Posturographic measurements and subjective assessment of pain intensity were taken prior to therapy and at weeks 1 and 6 of therapy completion.


      A comparison of percentage change in activity-related pain from baseline to 6 weeks post-therapy revealed a significantly greater pain reduction in group A compared to group B. The three-way ANOVA demonstated an effect of treatment type on all posturographic variables. The Bonferroni post-hoc test showed the means of all variables were significantly smaller for group A than group B. Limb condition also had an effect on the center-of-pressure trajectories in anteroposterior plane; the post-hoc test showed the mean values of the variables were significantly greater for the non-affected compared to affected limb.


      Shock wave therapy was significantly more effective than sonotherapy for alleviation of activity-related pain of Achilles tendinopathy. An association was also shown between shock wave therapy and more efficient postural control in patients with Achilles tendinopathy. The parameters of center-of-pressure trajectories in the sagittal plane were significantly greater for the non-affected compared to affected limb.
      The trial was prospectively registered in the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (no. ACTRN12617000860369; registration date: 9.06.2017).


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