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Photobiomodul Photomed Laser Surg. 2019 May;37(5):269-275. doi: 10.1089/photob.2018.4533.

Photobiomodulation Therapy Versus Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy in the Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis.

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1 Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey.
2 Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, Ankara, Turkey.


Objective: To compare the effects of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) and extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) on lateral epicondylitis (LE). Background: Although several authors have investigated the effects of PBMT and ESWT on LE, only one study to date has compared ESWT with PBMT. Ours is also the first study assessing patient satisfaction levels and quality of life in addition to comparing the two methods. Methods: Forty-three patients were randomly divided into two groups: 23 (mean age: 48.2 ± 9.4; 17 female, 6 male) were included in the PBMT group and 20 (mean age: 48.0 ± 9.9; 15 female, 5 male) in the ESWT group. PBMT was applied three times a week for 4 weeks, and ESWT once a week for 4 weeks. Stretching and eccentric strengthening exercises were also given to both groups as a home program. The Mayo Elbow Performance Score and disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand (DASH) were used for evaluating upper extremity functions. Pain intensity was evaluated using a visual analog scale (VAS), and muscle strengths were also assessed using a hand-held dynamometer. The 12-Item Short Form (SF-12) Survey Physical and Mental Component Scales were used to evaluate quality of life, and the global rating of change scale to evaluate patient satisfaction. Patients were assessed before treatment and at 12-week follow-up. Results: Improvements for elbow extension and shoulder flexion strength and for VAS movement were observed only in the PBMT group, whereas improvement of handgrip strength was present in both groups (p < 0.05). However, handgrip strength was superior in the PBMT group than in the ESWT group (p = 0.02). Conclusions: Both PBMT and ESWT are useful and can be used in the treatment of LE.


ESWT; PBMT; elbow function; elbow pain; lateral epicondylitis; quality of life


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