What are tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow?
These are painful conditions which are associated with sports, but which occur even in people who never swing a tennis racket or golf club. Tennis elbow is the colloquial name for lateral epicondylitis, which causes pain around the elbow.
It tends to happen after the forearm is used strenuously, when the muscles and tendons near the elbow joint become inflamed. Pain then occurs when lifting, gripping, twisting and bending the affected forearm, and sufferers can even struggle to fully extend their arm.
Golfer’s elbow is more correctly named medial epicondylitis. This too is caused by tendon inflammation that leads to pain, but it is the inside of the elbow which is affected, and pain can spread into the forearm.
Both can be treated with rest and a range of other techniques – but one particular treatment which is yielding very positive results is extracorporeal shockwave therapy, abbreviated as ESWT.
Shockwave therapy treatment for tennis elbow
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy involves directing painless shockwaves into the deep layers of your tissue to stimulate inflammation and encourage your body to heal itself. It has been used for millions of different medical conditions over the past 20 years and is often most associated with treatments for kidney stones, where the shockwaves break down the build-up in a painless and effective way.
How effective is shockwave therapy at treating tennis elbow?
Success rates of 80% have been recorded, and patients note that it takes just a few sessions for their pain to diminish as the body begins to naturally heal itself, without surgery or drugs.
When is shockwave therapy an appropriate treatment?
It works most effectively where the patient has been suffering from their condition for 6-12 months. The treatment acts to stimulate the natural healing process so that it can be completed fully and leave the patient free from pain.