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Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that there was not enough evidence to know how well extracorporeal shockwave therapy works for Achilles tendinopathy. The 5 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 821 patients.

The evidence on how well the procedure works is not clear because the way it was done, and how its success was measured, was different in each study. But some patients in the studies reported less pain and better function, up to 1 year after the procedure was done.

The studies showed that the risks of the procedure included skin reddening, bruising, pain, calf ache and numbness. These were all temporary symptoms that got better with time. In 2 patients the Achilles tendon broke 2 weeks after the procedure, but this can also happen when the procedure has not been used.

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

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