What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, technically known as lateral epicondylitis, is one of the most common injuries of the arm (and despite the name you don’t have to play tennis to suffer from it). This injury can be a major challenge, as it is not the easiest to treat, prone to recurrence, and may last for several weeks or months, with the average duration of a typical episode reported to be between six months and two years.
Tennis elbow is a tendinopathy of the common extensor in the wrist, defined as pain on the outside of the elbow, with the dominant arm commonly being most affected. It is generally a work-related or sport-related condition caused by regular overloading by excessive, quick, monotonous, repetitive movements of the wrist, especially in eccentric contractions and gripping activities that result in micro traumas, leading the tendon to degenerate/deteriorate with time.
Your symptoms are very likely to be;
- Tenderness on the outside of the elbow
- Stiffness in the morning with persistent aching
- Soreness of the forearms and pain is worsened by gripping or holding an object
The condition is diagnosed during a clinical assessment by a trained practitioner, an ultrasound scan is often used, or even an MRI. Fortunately, this condition responds very well to shockwave therapy.
What is shockwave?
Shockwave therapy is a modern and highly effective treatment option in orthopaedic and rehabilitation medicine. The term shockwave refers to mechanical pressure pulses that expand as a wave in the body.
The easiest way to think of the energy created by a shockwave machine is to think of a Jacuzzi. Bubbles are generated outside of the body, the energy of the jets is focused on a certain area and the effect can be felt below the surface of your skin. The stronger the jet, the deeper the effect. Similarly, the more focused the jet, the more targeted the impact.
A shockwave machine works in a very similar way. A wave of energy is created and delivered to a specific area via the therapy source which is controlled by the therapist to deliver the wave. The therapy source can deliver a targeted, specific wave (focused shockwave) or a general wave (radial pressure wave). Without boring you to death with all the science, essentially the result of shockwave is to increase new blood supply, reduce pain and stimulate the cells that are responsible for repairing and regenerating the tissues to ultimately help your body heal faster.
Shockwave therapy has a broad application and is commonly used in practice by numerous health care professionals. Additional conditions that have shown to benefit greatly from shockwave therapy are:
- Calcific tendonitis of the shoulder (frozen shoulder)
- Golfers elbow
- Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (hip pain)
- Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Patella/femoral tendinopathy (knee pain)
Plus, many more…