Evidence Based Resources for Lateral Epicondylalgia (tennis elbow)
Research just published in the British Journal of Medicine reports that physical therapy with a manual component and exercise results in greater overall success, reduced severity of symptoms and increased functional grip strength when compared to corticosteroid injection or a wait-and-see approach for the treatment of lateral epicondylalgia.
While patients who received corticosteroid injection demonstrated profound initial improvements, by 12-weeks their condition had degraded to below the level of both the physical therapy group and the wait-and-see approach.
Waugh et al. also found that patients with epicondylalgia who do computer work have a worse prognosis, despite often having a sports-related mechanism of injury. Interventions, therefore, should include assessment of workstations, posture and behaviors …areas in which physical therapists are particularly qualified.
When recommending treatment for your patients with lateral epicondylalgia, follow the evidence and consider the long-term benefits of physical ther-
1. Bisset L, Beller E, Jull G, et al. Mobilization with movement and exercise, corticosteroid injection, or wait and see for tennis elbow: randomized trial. BMJ. 2006. 2. Waugh E, Jaglal S, Davis A, Computer use associated with poor long-term prognosis of conservatively managed lateral epicondylalgia J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2004; Volume 34, Number 12, 770-780.