Radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy in the treatment of shoulder calcific tendinitis

Viviana Avancini-Dobrović, Ljubinka Frlan-Vrgoc, Doris Stamenković, Ivan Pavlović, Tea Schnurrer-Luke Vrbanić
Collegium Antropologicum 2011, 35 Suppl 2: 221-5
Shoulder calcific lesions of the rotator cuff are a common problem in physiatric and orthopedic practice. The lesions are mostly located in the supraspinatus tendon, close to the insertion area in the critical zone. Patients are usually treated conservatively by nonsteroid antiinflammatory drugs, analgesic drugs, local injections, physiotherapy and rarely by applying surgical procedures. Painful shoulder gives rise to functional disabilities and may sometimes lead to pharmacological overuse. In the last twenty years, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) has been frequently used in the treatment of calcific tendinopathies. We have evaluated the effectiveness of radial ESWT on the group of 30 patients, aged between 28 and 58 years, with calcific tendinitis of the shoulder. Criotherapy, medical exercises and radial ESWT were applied. We used the radial ESWT device (BTL-5000 SWT, Columbia, USA), 3 bars pressure, 10 Hz frequency, 2000 shocks. Patients were examined before the beginning of the treatment, immediately after the treatment, and 6 months later. The treatment included measurement of the range of motion (ROM), measurement of voluntary isometric contraction of shoulder muscles with manual muscle test (MMT), and subjective assessment of pain intensity with visual analogue scale (VAS). X-ray was done before and 6 month after treatment. The study has shown the efficiency of the treatment with radial ESWT. The level of statistical significance was determined with student t-test. Radial ESWT applied to patients with shoulder calcific lesions of the rotator cuff resulted in pain relief increase in the range of motion and increase in the muscular strength. As shown by X-ray, these results were followed by the decrease in the size of the rotator cuff calcifications.

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