Focused and Radial Shock Wave Therapy in the Treatment of Tennis Elbow: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Study

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The purpose of this article was to evaluate and compare the efficacy of radial and focused shock wave therapies applied to treat tennis elbow. Patients with tennis elbow were randomized into two comparative groups: focused shock wave therapy (FSWT; n=25) and radial shock wave therapy (RSWT; n=25). Subjects in the FSWT and RSWT groups were applied with a focused shock wave (3 sessions, 2000 shocks, 4 Hz, 0.2 mJ/mm2) and a radial shock wave (3 sessions, 2000 + 2000 shocks, 8 Hz, 2.5 bar), respectively. The primary study endpoints were pain relief and functional improvement (muscle strength) one week after therapy. The secondary endpoint consisted of the results of the follow-up observation (3, 6 and 12 weeks after the study). Successive measurements showed that the amount of pain patients felt decreased in both groups. At the same time grip strength as well as strength of wrist extensors and flexors of the affected extremity improved significantly. Both focused and radial shock wave therapies can comparably and gradually reduce pain in subjects with tennis elbow. This process is accompanied by steadily improved strength of the affected extremity.

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