Extracorporeal shock wave therapy vs cryoultrasound therapy in the treatment of chronic lateral epicondylitis. One year follow up study

Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2015 Oct 20;5(3):167-74. doi: 10.11138/mltj/2015.5.3.167. eCollection Jul-Sep 2015.


Background: the purpose of this study is to compare the therapeutic effects of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) to those of cryoultrasound (Cryo-US) therapy in chronic lateral epicondylitis during a 12-month period.

Methods: single-blinded, randomized, controlled study of 80 participants treated for chronic LE with 3 ESWT sessions at 48/72-hours intervals (n=40) or 12 Cryo-US therapy sessions (4 sessions per week) (n=40). VAS and satisfactory results, considered as the sum of excellent and good scores in the Roles and Maudsley score, were used as outcome measures at baseline and 3, 6 and 12 months post-treatment.

Results: the results show statistically significant differences in VAS between the two groups at 6 (p<0.001) and 12 months (p<0.001) in favour of the ESWT Group. At 12 months, a difference of more than 2 points in the VAS between the two groups is demonstrated in favour of the ESWT Group. Considering satisfactory results, significant differences between the two groups are observed at 6 (p=0.003) and 12 months (p <0.001) in favour of the ESWT Group where patients achieve a satisfactory rate over 50%.

Conclusions: ESWT has better clinical therapeutic results at 6- and 12-month follow-up as compared to Cryo-US therapy.

Level of evidence: 1B.

Keywords: elbow pain; non-operative care; physical therapies; tendinopathies.