BACKGROUND Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) can be applied to various musculoskeletal conditions including calcific tendinitis. Muscle injuries can lead to hematomas, and unabsorbed hematomas sometimes cause pain. We report a case of painful hematoma successfully treated with ESWT. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of painful intramuscular hematoma treated with ESWT. CASE SUMMARY A 65-year-old man visited the outpatient department for left calf pain with swelling that had persisted since he slipped two weeks prior. The calf pain had persisted and was rated visual analog scale 7. On physical examination, there was a localized, stiff, ovoid mass on his left upper posterior calf. The pain was aggravated by dorsiflexion of the left ankle or weight-bearing on the left foot. Initial diagnostic ultrasonography showed a hematoma in the left gastrocnemius muscle; its texture was firm with low heterogeneity. We applied ESWT to the hematoma. His pain decreased immediately to a visual analog scale 3, and the mass was softened. The texture of the hematoma became more heterogeneous on ultrasonography. Due to planned overseas travel, he returned three months after the initial visit to report that the pain and swelling were dramatically relieved after ESWT. CONCLUSION We propose that painful hematomas could be a new indication for ESWT. Further investigation on the effects of ESWT for hematomas is needed.
- Case report
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy