What is the role of extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) in the treatment of frozen shoulder syndrome (FSS) (adhesive capsulitis)?

Updated: Nov 12, 2020
  • Author: Jefferson R Roberts, MD; Chief Editor: S Ashfaq Hasan, MD  more...
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Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) shows promise as a therapy for adhesive capsulitis. [61] ESWT compared favorably with oral steroids as a short-term treatment for primary adhesive capsulitis in a prospective, randomized, controlled, single-blind clinical trial by Chen et al in 40 patients. From the fourth week of treatment, the ESWT group showed significant improvement superior to that in the steroid group; at the sixth week, improvement in activities of daily living (ADL) achieved significance and was better than that in the steroid group. [62]

Results of an observational study by Santoboni and colleagues suggest that ESWT may offer a safer alternative to steroid injections or surgery for treatment of adhesive capsulitis in patients with diabetes. In their study, which included 50 consecutive patients with an overall mean pain duration of 15.7 months, significant functional improvements compared with baseline were evident at 2 months, with further amelioration at 4 and 6 months. [63]

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