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Shockwave Therapy for Tennis Elbow

Updated: Apr 12, 2023


Shockwave Therapy for Tennis Elbow


Key takeaways


  • Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive and safe treatment option that has been shown to effectively reduce pain and speed up recovery time for people suffering with tennis elbow.

  • Shockwave therapy can promote healing by stimulating the body's natural healing mechanisms, which can help reduce pain and improve grip strength in those with tennis elbow.

  • Some studies have shown that up to 80% of patients experience significant pain reduction and improved function following shockwave therapy.


Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition characterised by pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow. It is commonly caused by overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons, often due to repetitive gripping and twisting motions. Tennis elbow affects people of all ages and professions, from athletes to office workers.

Early treatment is crucial for Tennis elbow, as it can lead to chronic pain and disability if left untreated. Conservative treatments such as rest, ice, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medication are often recommended as a first line of defense. However, for some patients, these treatments may not provide sufficient relief.

This is where Shockwave therapy comes in. Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses high-energy sound waves to promote healing and relieve pain. In recent years, it has gained popularity as a safe and effective method to help in the treatment of Tennis elbow.


In the next sections, we will explore the concept of Shockwave therapy and its effectiveness in treating Tennis elbow. We will also address the common questions and concerns surrounding Shockwave therapy for tennis elbow.


What is Shockwave Therapy?


Shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shock (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment that uses high-energy sound waves to promote healing and relieve pain. It was originally developed for the treatment of kidney stones, but has since been adapted for use in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including tennis elbow.



What is Tennis Elbow?


Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. It occurs when the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle, a bony bump on the outer part of the elbow, become inflamed or damaged due to repetitive use or overuse.


Despite its name, tennis elbow is not limited to tennis players and can affect anyone who engages in activities that require repetitive gripping or wrist movements, such as painting, carpentry, and typing.


The condition is more common in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 and is more prevalent in men than women.


Symptoms of tennis elbow

  • Pain or tenderness on the outer part of the elbow

  • Weakness in the forearm

  • Stiffness in the elbow joint

  • Difficulty gripping or holding objects

  • Pain that worsens with wrist or arm movement

  • Pain that radiates from the elbow to the forearm and wrist


How Shockwave Therapy works

During the procedure, a handheld device is used to deliver high-energy sound waves to the affected area. The sound waves stimulate the body's natural healing process by increasing blood flow, promoting the growth of new blood vessels, and stimulating the production of collagen.

Advantages of Shockwave Therapy for Tennis Elbow


  • Non-invasive: Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that does not require surgery or incisions, making it a safer alternative to invasive procedures.

  • Effective: Multiple studies have shown that Shockwave therapy is an effective treatment for Tennis elbow, with many patients reporting significant improvement in pain and function.

  • Quick recovery: Shockwave therapy sessions are typically short and require minimal downtime, allowing patients to resume their normal activities quickly.

  • No anesthesia required: Shockwave therapy is performed without anesthesia, reducing the risk of complications and making it a safer treatment option.

How it differs from other treatment options


Shockwave therapy differs from other conservative treatments for Tennis elbow, such as rest, physical therapy, and medication, in that it targets the root cause of the condition by promoting tissue regeneration and reducing inflammation. It is also a more targeted treatment option compared to steroid injections, which can have potential side effects and may not be suitable for all patients.



Evidence of effectiveness


Studies have demonstrated that shockwave therapy for lateral epicondylitis has been shown to reduce pain and improve grip strength in people with tennis elbow. In fact, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials found that shockwave therapy provided significantly better outcomes compared to placebo treatments or other conservative treatments, such as corticosteroid injections or physiotherapy.



Success rates and patient outcomes


Success rates of shockwave therapy for tennis elbow vary depending on the severity and duration of the condition, as well as individual factors such as age and overall health. However, studies have shown that up to 80% of patients experience significant pain reduction and improved function following shockwave therapy.



What are the Side Effects of Shockwave Therapy for Tennis Elbow?


  • Mild to moderate pain or discomfort during or after treatment

  • Swelling or bruising around the treated area

  • Redness or skin irritation

  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the treated area

  • Rarely, damage to nearby nerves, blood vessels, or bones


It's important to note that these side effects are typically temporary and resolve on their own within a few days to weeks. However, if you experience persistent or severe symptoms, it's important to consult with your healthcare provider.


How to minimise risks and complications


To minimise the risks of side effects and complications from shockwave therapy, it is important to choose a qualified healthcare provider who has experience with this type of treatment, just like our team here at SoCo Therapies.


Additionally, following the recommended aftercare instructions and taking any prescribed medications as directed can help minimise the risk of side effects and complications.


Considerations for those with underlying health conditions


While shockwave therapy is generally safe, there are certain circumstances where it may not be appropriate. For example, individuals with certain medical conditions such as cancer, bleeding disorders, or nerve disorders may not be good candidates for shockwave therapy. It is important to discuss any underlying health conditions with your healthcare provider before undergoing shockwave therapy for tennis elbow.



What is the Fastest Way to Cure Tennis Elbow?


Tennis elbow can be a debilitating condition that can limit daily activities and affect quality of life. Seeking treatment as soon as possible is important to prevent further damage and promote healing.


Here are some ways to cure tennis elbow quickly:


  • Importance of Early Treatment: Early diagnosis and intervention are essential in the management of tennis elbow. Resting the affected arm and avoiding activities that aggravate the condition are key to allowing the damaged tendons to heal. Applying ice packs to the elbow can also help to reduce pain and inflammation.

  • Combination Therapy Approach: A combination of therapies can be an effective way to cure tennis elbow quickly. Shockwave therapy, along with other treatments such as osteopathy, physiotherapy, chiropractic, and sports therapy, can provide a comprehensive approach to healing.

  • Lifestyle changes: Avoiding activities that aggravate the elbow, using proper equipment, and stretching can prevent recurrence and speed up recovery,



Frequently Asked Questions about Shockwave Therapy for Tennis Elbow

Does Shockwave Therapy work for Tendonitis?

Tendonitis is a common condition that causes inflammation of the tendons, and shockwave therapy has been shown to be effective in treating this condition. The high-intensity shockwaves generated by the therapy promote the regeneration of damaged tissue and improve blood flow, which can help reduce inflammation and pain.

Does Shockwave Therapy work for Tennis Elbow?

How many sessions of Shockwave Therapy are needed?

Is Shockwave Therapy painful?

What is the cost of Shockwave Therapy?


Final thoughts on treating Tennis Elbow with Shockwave Therapy


In summary, tennis elbow is a painful condition that affects many individuals, particularly those involved in activities that require repetitive arm and wrist movements. Early treatment is crucial in preventing the condition from worsening and causing long-term damage. Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive and safe treatment option that has been shown to effectively reduce pain and speed up recovery time for people suffering with tennis elbow.










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