Shock wave therapy for patients with lateral epicondylitis of the elbow: a one- to two-year follow-up study

Am J Sports Med. May-Jun 2002;30(3):422-5. doi: 10.1177/03635465020300031901.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Recovery of Function
  • Recurrence
  • Tennis Elbow / physiopathology
  • Tennis Elbow / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome