Do you have a current Achilles or patellar tendinopathy?

by Dr Charlie Waugh

Tendinopathies are painful conditions thought to occur as the result of a failed healing response. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a novel treatment that has recently shown promising results as a non-invasive treatment for these conditions. ESWT involves acoustic shockwaves passing through the skin to the affected area; it is commonly used when other treatments do not improve symptoms.

We are currently researching the biological response of Achilles and patellar tendinopathies to ESWT as it is not known yet how this treatment works.

If you have been diagnosed with an Achilles or patellar tendinopathy, and your clinician had advised ESWT but you can’t access it, we can offer you treatment in exchange for participating in our on-going study. Having a better understanding of how ESWT works may lead to better or more suitable treatments being available in the future.

The study will involve a minimum of a one-day (8 hour) visit to Queen Mary University (Charterhouse Square, Barbican, London). Part of the study will require a small needle to be placed close to each tendon under anaesthetic. A course of three ESWT treatments is available for volunteers, administered by health professionals at the university. Reasonable travel costs for one visit can be covered.

Please contact Dr Charlie Waugh (email: if you are interested in taking part or finding more out about the current study. Further information on ESWT for tendinopathies is available from The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) at

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I've had achilles tendonitis for 11 months. I've been seen by a private podiatrist, tried orthotics, been given acupuncture and had sports massage. I started to see a private physiotherapist who began weekly ultrasound accompanied with friction massage. This was working quite well. In the meantime my GP finally referred me to NHS physio and for 3 months I was told to do a strengthening programme. This didn't seem to help much, in fact ended up getting more knee problems from the bending of the knee dips. They then also decided on some ultrasound, but instead of the weekly programme which was all I could afford, I was given twice weekly sessions-free! This seemed to help greatly and with the continuation of some stretching and strengthening exercises, I have finally returned to running. If things hadn't have improved these last 4 weeks, I would definitely been up to trying something new, as this injury seemed like it was never going to heal. Good luck with your new treatment, hope it gets people back to painfree 'normality' quicker than my treatments!

Posted: 07/06/2013 at 23:17

Hi Lynn

Sorry to hear you have been having such trouble, but glad that you have found something that works for you! Many sufferers try out a number of treatment options before their symptoms get better, and this is where shockwave therapy seems to come into its own. Research would suggest that the improvements in pain and function are similar between eccentric heel drops and shockwave therapy for the Achilles, but that many people who find the heel drops do not work for them see an improvement after a course of shockwave therapy. Tendons are funny things and we're still trying to work them out!

All the best in your future running ventures.


Posted: 16/07/2013 at 10:06

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