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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006 May;45(5):566-70. Epub 2005 Nov 22.

Pulsed low-intensity ultrasound therapy for chronic lateral epicondylitis: a randomized controlled trial.

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Rheumatology Research Unit, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge University NHS Trust, Cambridge, UK.



Pulsed low-intensity ultrasound therapy (LIUS) has been found to be beneficial in accelerating fracture healing and has produced positive results in animal tendon repair. In the light of this we undertook a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of LIUS vs placebo therapy daily for 12 weeks in patients with chronic lateral epicondylitis (LE).


Patients with LE of at least 6 weeks' duration were recruited from general practice, physiotherapy and rheumatology clinics, and had to have failed at least one first-line treatment including non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroid injection. Participants were assigned either active LIUS or placebo. Treatment was self-administered daily for 20 min over a 12-week period. The primary end-point was a 50% improvement from baseline in elbow pain measured at 12 weeks using a patient-completed visual analogue scale.


Fifty-five subjects aged 18-80 were recruited over a 9-month period. In the active group 64% (16/25) achieved at least 50% improvement from baseline in elbow pain at 12 weeks compared with 57% (13/23) in the placebo group (difference of 7%; 95% confidence interval -20 to 35%). However, this was not statistically significant (chi(2) = 0.28, P = 0.60).


In this study LIUS was no more effective for a large treatment effect than placebo for recalcitrant LE. This is in keeping with other interventional studies for the condition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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