Tendon problems, such as tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, can be notoriously difficult to shift. But there’s a new treatment on the market that’s proving to be a game-changer. Find out what research shows about the use of Shockwave Therapy for those tricky tendons.
What are tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow?
Many tennis players are familiar with the pain of tennis elbow. And it doesn’t only affect amateur players. Even tennis pros, including Andy Murray, Venus Williams and Juan Martin Del Potro, are liable to this common tendon injury. But what exactly is it, and what can you do about it?
When you hit a tennis ball, the force of the strike has to be absorbed by the muscles of the forearm. The extensor muscles (that is, those in the back of the forearm) take the brunt of the force. It’s easy for these small muscles to become overloaded, especially if your technique is less-than-perfect.
The result is a gradual build-up of trauma and inflammation at the site where the muscles attach to the bone at the outside of the elbow (the ‘lateral epicondyle’). This tendon problem (tendinosis) is known as ‘lateral epicondylitis’. You’ll feel this pain when you try to grip something, turn a doorhandle, or pick up a weight such as a kettle.
Golfer’s elbow develops in much the same way. The difference is that the mechanics of using a golf club puts the muscles on the front of the forearm (flexor muscles) at most risk. These attach to the bone on the inside prominence of the elbow, which is where the pain of golfer’s elbow arises. This type of tendinosis is called ‘medial epicondylitis’.
What treatments are available for elbow pain?
The long-term solution for epicondylitis involves muscle stretching and strengthening and working on your technique. But in the meanwhile, the pain can be difficult to alleviate, and it can take many months to resolve.
Some people find using topical anti-inflammatory creams beneficial. In addition, a strap designed for purpose can take some of the strain off those struggling tendons, offering some protection while you carry on with your everyday activities.
For the more intractable cases, your GP may offer corticosteroid injections. These can be great for pain relief. However, they weaken the tendons, and can actually make things worse in the months and years ahead.
Shockwave therapy is a new, safe and effective treatment for tendinosis and other muscle, bone and joint problems.
How can Shockwave Therapy help?
Shockwave therapy is a relatively new weapon in the battle against tendinosis. And it’s proving to be an effective one.
Shockwave therapy is approved by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) for a range of conditions. It produces results quickly without the risks associated with injections or surgery.
A hand-held device is used to deliver targeted pulses of energy to the damaged tissues. This energy is in the form of sound waves. The pulses stimulate blood flow, healing and cell regeneration. They also reduce local pain-inducing factors, giving much-needed pain relief.
Studies are backing up the benefits that patients are seeing. Shockwave therapy has been shown to reduce pain and improve grip strength in people with tennis elbow.
But beyond that, it has shown its value in a range of conditions, including plantar fasciitis (foot pain), greater trochanteric pain (often known as ‘hip bursitis’), calcific tendinopathies, plus a variety of bone disorders.
Research by Dedes et al. (2018) states:
“Shockwave therapy significantly reduced the pain that accompanies tendinopathies and improves functionality and quality of life. It might be first choice because of its effectiveness and safety.”
Shockwave therapy is a fast, safe and effective treatment for tendinopathy. It relieves pain and improves function with lasting results.
If you’re struggling with a tendon problem such as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, we can help. At Woodside Clinic in Leighton Buzzard or Dunstable, we can assess and treat you using shockwave therapy.
So why wait? Book today!