Aim: This review article focuses on a possible pain-alleviating effect of shock-wave application in persistent lateral epicondylopathy of the elbow and compares the effects with data on other non-operative and operative procedures.
Methods: Patients who suffered from chronic tennis elbow for more than 12 months and were therefore referred for a surgical procedure were assigned at random to two groups of low-energy shock-wave therapy. Group I received a total of 3000 (3 x 1000) impulses of 0.08 mJ/mm(2), while group II (control group) received a total of 30 (3 x 10) impulses of 0.08 mJ/mm(2). Follow-up examinations were carried out after 3, 6, and 24 and 52 weeks.
Results: There was a significant improvement of pain and function in group I, with a good or excellent outcome in 52% of cases compared to 6% in group II at the last evaluation.
Conclusion: Extracorporeal shock-wave application has a dose-dependent pain-relieving effect on chronic tendopathy of the lateral elbow.