Background: The results of both nonoperative and surgical treatments for lateral epicondylitis of the elbow have been inconsistent. Shock wave therapy has been shown to have a favorable short-term effect in treating this condition.
Hypothesis: Shock wave therapy is an effective treatment for patients with lateral epicondylitis of the elbow and long-term results will be as favorable as short-term ones.
Study design: Case series.
Methods: The effect of shock wave therapy was investigated in 57 patients with lateral epicondylitis of the elbow. Forty-three patients (24 men and 19 women with an average age of 46 years) with 1 to 2 years of follow-up were included in this study. In addition, six patients were treated with a sham procedure as a control group. Each patient was treated with 1000 impulses of shock wave therapy at 14 kV to the affected elbow. A 100-point scoring system was used for evaluating pain, function, strength, and elbow range of motion.
Results: Twenty-seven elbows (61.4%) were free of complaints, 13 (29.5%) were significantly better, 3 (6.8%) were slightly better, and 1 (2.3%) was unchanged. In the control group, the results were unchanged in all six patients. There were no device-related problems and no systemic or local complications.
Conclusions: Shock wave therapy is a safe and effective modality in the treatment of patients with lateral epicondylitis of the elbow.