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Medicina dello Sport 2022 June;75(2):238-47

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.22.04048-0


language: English, Italian

Laser and thermal therapy in athletes’ tennis elbow: an observational study

Francesco AGOSTINI 1, Andrea BERNETTI 1 , Gabriele SANTILLI 2, Marco PAOLONI 1, Valter SANTILLI 1, Massimiliano MANGONE 1

1 Department of Anatomical and Histological Sciences, Legal Medicine and Orthopedics, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; 2 Unit of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sant’Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy


BACKGROUND: Lateral epicondylitis (LE), is a widespread painful situation in the upper extremity that usually occurs due to overuse of the wrist extensor muscles. The aim of our study was to investigate the analgesic and functional effects of laser therapy in association with thermal therapy in sports patients suffering from lateral epicondylitis.
METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed amateur tennis patients who played sports at least 3 times a week, with medical and ultrasound diagnosis of subacute lateral epicondylitis. All patients underwent 6 sessions of Laser therapy with qmd® Helios laser. A group of patients instead (23, Thermal-Laser Group, TLG), underwent a session of Thermal therapy (qmd® Helios cryo-thermal) before the Laser therapy. The Laser Group (21, LG) on the other hand only performed laser therapy. Patients included in the study were evaluated at baseline (T0), at the end of treatment (T1) and after 15 days from the end of treatment (T2 through Visual Analogue Scale-VAS, muscle strength (Dynamometer) and function (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand-DASH questionnaire).
RESULTS: Fifty-two patients (23 M, 21 F) were enrolled (21 LG; 23 TLG). All evaluations performed show significant improvement over time in both groups. The TLG shows at T1 a greater increase in force compared to the LG.
CONCLUSIONS: Laser therapy has certainly been an effective intervention in the management of epicondyle pain for some time. More studies with a higher number of patients and longer follow-up are needed in order to better characterize the benefits of this combination therapy.

KEY WORDS: Joint; Pain; Laser therapy; Sport

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