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Upper Limb

A prospective, randomised study to compare extracorporeal shock-wave therapy and injection of steroid for the treatment of tennis elbow

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We undertook a prospective, randomised study to compare the analgesic effect of injection of steroid and of extracorporeal shock-wave therapy (ESWT) for the treatment of tennis elbow. Group 1 received a single injection of 20 mg of triamcinolone with lignocaine while group 2 received 2000 shock waves in three sessions at weekly intervals. After six weeks there was a significant difference between the groups with the mean pain score for the injection group falling from 66 to 21 compared with a decrease from 61 to 35 in the shock-wave group (p = 0.05). After three months, 84% of patients in group 1 were considered to have had successful treatment compared with 60% in group 2.

In the medium term local injection of steroid is more successful and 100 times less expensive than ESWT in the treatment of tennis elbow.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr M. A. A. Crowther at the Directorate of Musculoskeletal Services, Harry Griffiths Room, T Ward, Southmead Hospital, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK.

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