Efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave therapy in the treatment of lateral epicondylitis

North Clin Istanb. 2014 Aug 3;1(1):33-38. doi: 10.14744/nci.2014.77487. eCollection 2014.


Objective: Lateral epicondylitis is one of the widely seen lesions of the arm characterized by pain localized over lateral epicondyle which is the insertion site of the wrist extensors, and extensor muscles of the forearm. It is easy to diagnose lateral epicondylitis but treatment involves some inherent drawbacks. Conservative management includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ultrasound therapy, steroid injections, functional bracing, laser therapy and extracorporeal shock wave therapy, however none of these modalities have been shown to be really effective based on evidence-based data. Our study is aimed to determine the efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) therapy in the treatment of lateral epicondylitis.

Methods: A total of 12 patients with the diagnosis of lateral epicondylitis were included in the study and 3 sessions of ESWT were applied (1 session per week). Maximum grip strength and pain scores were assessed before and at 1. month after the treatment. Spesific tests for lateral epicondylitis were utilized and Turkish version of the Patient Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation (PRTEE-T) questionnaire was administered and data obtained were analyzed.

Results: Visual analog scale (VAS) scores were significantly lower (p<0.05) and grip strength significantly increased (p<0.05) one month after ESWT treatment. Overall PRTEE-T survey scores decreased significantly at first month (p<0.001) after treatment. Patient's and physician's global self-assessment scores were significantly lower after treatment (p<0.05).

Conclusion: To conclude, ESWT utilization in conservative treatment of lateral epicondyilitis was found to be effective on reducing pain, and improving functional activities and quality of life.

Keywords: Conservative treatment; ESWT; lateral epicondylitis.