The One Treatment for Tennis Elbow That Works Better Than the Placebo

Doctor Frank Shallenberger

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

June 24, 2024

Tennis Elbow

You don’t have to play tennis to get tennis elbow. Tennis elbow is a painful condition that results from any kind of overuse of the tendons in the forearm.

It affects tennis players and attracts the attention of tradesmen, food industry workers, manufacturers, and office workers – anyone who uses their hands and wrists for hours each day.

I’ve had it a few times from overdoing my weight training. And I’m not alone. Every year, about 200,000 men and women get tennis elbow in the United States alone.

Recently, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center looked at how effective conventional treatments are for tennis elbow. The results are disappointing. But there’s hope.

The authors of the study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine looked at the efficacy of the 11 most common non-surgical treatments for tennis elbow. These included physical therapy, acupuncture, oral anti-inflammatory medications, local botulinum toxin injection therapy, ultrasound, and laser therapy. They analyzed findings from 2,746 men and women in 36 different randomized, placebo-controlled studies evaluating the procedures. Only studies in which treatments given as placebo (such as saline-filled injections, sugar pills, or inactivated therapeutic devices) were included in the analysis. Here’s what they found.

First of all, the placebos worked pretty well. At the end of 26 weeks, 99% of patients receiving just the placebo had little to no pain. So, how did the patients do who got the real treatment? None of them had any noticeable benefit in the first four weeks of treatment. According to Amin Mohamadi, MD, MPH, one of the authors of the study, “We evaluated almost all of the non-surgical treatments available for tennis elbow and showed that they provide only minimal effect over placebo.” Basically, the data shows that the most effective treatment was time. But, there’s one treatment they did not try – Prolozone® therapy.

As you may know, Prolozone therapy consists of injecting a combination of procaine, vitamins, glucose, minerals, anti-inflammatory medication, and ozone. It gives immediate relief and ultimately makes the tendons heal faster. The only problem with Prolozone is that it relieves the pain several weeks before the actual healing of the problem takes place. So, I always warn my patients that just because it feels like the problem is gone, that doesn’t mean that it really is gone.

As this study shows, tennis elbow is often resistant to healing. So, I tell my patients, even though it feels good, to act like it doesn’t. Returning to the activity that caused it sooner than three weeks after the Prolozone treatment will often cause it to return.

If you’re having trouble with tennis elbow and need help, you can find a doctor trained in Prolozone at

Yours for better health,

Frank Shallenberger, MD


Study finds tennis elbow treatments provide little to no benefit. November 1, 2018, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center;

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