The use of a mobile lithotripter in the treatment of tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis

Surgeon. 2003 Oct;1(5):290-2. doi: 10.1016/s1479-666x(03)80048-3.


Objective: To evaluate the use of the mobile lithotripter in the treatment of tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis.

Method: A prospective single blind randomised trial was performed on 24 patients with tennis elbow and 23 patients with plantar fasciitis, with a mean duration of symptoms of 11 months. All patients had failed one or more method of treatment--conservative, topical non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), steroid injection and/or surgery. The patients were divided into treatment and placebo groups. The placebo group received treatment with a clasp on the elbow/heel to stop penetration of shock waves. A baseline pain score was obtained using the Million Visual Analogue scale (0-10). The affected area was infiltrated with 3-5mls of 1% lignocaine. The treatment consisted of 2000 shock waves at 2.5 bars of air pressure with a frequency of 8-10Hz. A total of three treatments were given at an interval of two weeks, each lasting for three to four minutes.

Results: In the treatment groups, a final pain score at six months post treatment showed significant improvement (three or more points) in 78% of patients with tennis elbow and 93% of patients with plantar fasciitis. In the placebo groups, significant improvement was seen in one patient (9%) with tennis elbow. The other patients in the placebo groups did not show significant improvement. This was statistically significant (chi square test) for both conditions.

Conclusion: The mobile lithotripter is an effective way of treating tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis but warrants further larger studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Fasciitis, Plantar / therapy*
  • Female
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retreatment
  • Tennis Elbow / therapy*