1.1 The evidence on extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) for Achilles tendinopathy raises no major safety concerns. Current evidence on efficacy of the procedure is inconsistent and limited in quality and quantity. Therefore, ESWT for Achilles tendinopathy should only be used with special arrangements for clinical governance, consent and audit or research.
1.2 Clinicians wishing to do ESWT for Achilles tendinopathy should:
Inform the clinical governance leads in their NHS trusts.
Ensure that patients understand the uncertainty about the procedure's efficacy and provide them with clear written information. In addition, the use of NICE's information for the public is recommended.
Audit and review clinical outcomes of all patients having ESWT for Achilles tendinopathy (see section 7.2).
1.3 NICE encourages further research into ESWT for Achilles tendinopathy, which may include comparative data collection. Studies should clearly describe patient selection, treatment protocols, use of local anaesthesia and the type and duration of energy applied (see section 3). Studies should include validated outcome measures and have a minimum of 1 year of follow-up. NICE may update the guidance on publication of further evidence.