Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ


I've heard there's some kind of "shock" therapy for tennis elbow. What can you tell me about this?


Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy known as ESWT was first used to break up kidney stones in the body. Doctors found out it also works to treat soft tissue and some bone injuries.

Waves of energy are sent through the body using a special machine. No surgery is needed. The patient is awake when the treatment is done. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the area being treated. The patient feels no pain or discomfort during the procedure.

The shock waves stimulate the damaged tissue. Your body starts its own healing process by sending blood and nutrients to that area. Healing takes place by the growth of new tissue around the area of injury.

It's a fairly new treatment developed in the last 10 years. Doctors are using it for tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and other conditions.

Jan D. Rompe, MD, et al. Repetitive Low-Energy Shock Wave Treatment for Chronic Lateral Epicondylitis in Tennis Players. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. May/June 2004. Vol. 32. No. 2. Pp. 734-743.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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