‘Tennis elbow’ (or lateral epicondylitis) is pain or inflammation on the outside of the elbow. Despite it’s name, it isn’t regularly seen in tennis players but is common in the general population who may use their arms a lot as part of their work or daily activities.
In addition to pain, other symptoms of tennis elbow can include weakness or stiffness in the arm. It is usually caused by overuse, so repetitive movements in the same area that your body isn’t able to cope with or adapt to.
There are many treatment options when it comes to resolving tennis elbow. These include:
- A wait & see approach (can just leave it and hope it will get better in time, which many will do within 8 – 12 months, it just depends whether you can live with it).
- Physiotherapy or Sports Therapy – including strengthening exercises, stretches, manual treatment techniques and taping.
- Acupuncture (which many Physio’s and Sports Therapist’s will do as part of their treatment).
- Activity modification – a crucial part of successful treatment.
- Medication, including pain killers and anti-inflammatories.
These forms of treatment can all be very effective for a mild or fairly recent onset of tennis elbow.
More invasive treatment options for more long standing or severe cases can include:
- A corticio-steroid injection.
- In severe, long-standing cases, even surgery.
Shockwave Therapy for Tennis Elbow
However, steroid injections and surgery really are a last resort, there is no guarantee of success with either of these treatment options. A very worthwhile alternative for more severe, long-standing cases that may have failed to get better with other treatments is Shockwave Therapy.
With Shockwave Therapy, ‘shock waves’ are passed through the skin to the affected area using a special device. It’s non-invasive (meaning it’s a treatment used on the surface of the skin) and a relatively pain-free treatment. The medical name for this procedure is ‘extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory tennis elbow’. ‘Extracorporeal’ means outside the body and ‘refractory’ means that the condition does not respond to conventional treatments. The ‘shock waves’ are inaudible, high-energy sound waves. How many sessions you will need depends on the severity of your pain and how long you’ve had the problem for. However, 4 – 6 are normally recommend.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that shockwave therapy is safe, although it can cause minor side effects, including bruising and reddening of skin in the area being treated.
Research shows that shockwave therapy can help improve the pain of tennis elbow in some cases. However, it may not work in all cases, and further research is needed.
If you’ve been suffering with tennis elbow and want help, get in touch. You can have a free no obligation discovery call to see whether it may help you.
Alternatively, book straight in to see one of our Clinician’s. They will carry out a full assessment of your elbow and put together a recovery plan for you. If they think shockwave treatment is going to help you, they can get started straight away. Unlike many clinics. we include shockwave therapy in the cost of your appointments, with no additional charges.