The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory tennis elbow.
Guidance has also been issued on Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory Achilles tendinopathy and Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory plantar fasciitis. It replaces the previous guidance on Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory tendinopathies (plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow) (NICE interventional procedure guidance 139, November 2005).
Tennis elbow is a condition affecting the tendons of the elbow which connect the muscles of the forearm to the upper arm bone. It may be associated with tiny tears in the fibres of the tendon and is usually caused by overuse or injury. Symptoms include pain in the outer part of the elbow, weakness or stiffness. In extracorporeal shockwave therapy, a machine is used to deliver sound waves to the painful area. It is not known exactly how it works, but it is thought that it might stimulate healing of the tendons.