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Is Radial Shockwave Therapy an Effective Treatment for Gluteus Medius Tendinopathy?

shockwave therapy hip pain

Radial shockwave therapy (RSWT) has been explored as a treatment for gluteus medius tendinopathy, a condition often associated with hip pain and dysfunction. The evidence for its efficacy involves clinical studies that assess outcomes such as pain relief, functional improvement, and patient satisfaction. Here is a summary of the evidence supporting the use of radial shockwave therapy for this condition:

  1. Pain Reduction and Functional Improvement:

  • Several studies have reported significant reductions in pain and improvements in function following RSWT. Patients often experience decreased tenderness and increased range of motion in the hip.

  • One randomised controlled trial (RCT) demonstrated that RSWT was effective in reducing pain and improving function in patients with greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS), a condition often overlapping with gluteus medius tendinopathy. Patients who received RSWT showed more significant improvements compared to those who received placebo treatment.

  1. Comparison with Other Treatments:

  • RSWT has been compared to other conservative treatments such as physical therapy and corticosteroid injections. Some studies indicate that RSWT may offer similar or superior outcomes, particularly in terms of long-term pain relief and functional gains.

  • A study comparing RSWT to corticosteroid injections found that while both treatments were effective, RSWT had fewer side effects and longer-lasting benefits.

  1. Mechanism of Action:

  • RSWT is believed to promote healing by increasing blood flow, stimulating cell regeneration, and reducing inflammation. It also induces neovascularisation (formation of new blood vessels), which can enhance tissue repair.

  • The mechanical pressure waves delivered by RSWT can disrupt fibrotic tissue and calcifications, which might contribute to pain relief and improved function.

  1. Patient Satisfaction and Safety:

  • High levels of patient satisfaction have been reported with RSWT, largely due to its non-invasive nature and minimal side effects.

  • Common side effects, if any, are typically mild and include transient discomfort or bruising at the treatment site.

In conclusion, the evidence supports the use of radial shockwave therapy as a potentially effective treatment for gluteus medius tendinopathy, particularly in terms of pain reduction and functional improvement.


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