This randomised controlled trial will evaluate the role of manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and corticosteroid injections in the treatment of lateral epicondylalgia (tennis elbow).

Official Title

A Pragmatic, Randomised Controlled Trial of Physiotherapy and Corticosteroid Injections in Lateral Epicondylalgia


Tennis Elbow, Musculoskeletal Diseases

Study Type


Study Design

Treatment, Randomized, Single Blind, Active Control, Parallel Assignment, Efficacy Study

Further Details

Primary Outcome Measures:

  • General improvement
  • Assessors assessment of severity
  • Pain free grip strength

Secondary Outcome Measures:

  • Global perceived effect score
  • Pain Visual Analogue Scale
  • Function Visual Analogue Scale
  • Impact on occupational and recreational activities
  • Stratford pain free function questionnaire
  • Patient rated evaluation questionnaire
  • Pressure pain threshold
  • Maximum grip strength
  • Pain visual analogue scale with gripping
  • Tests of motor control (reaction time, speed, accuracy, coordination)

Study Start

March 2002; Study completion: June 2005

Eligibility & Criteria

  • Ages Eligible for Study: 18 Years – 65 Years
  • Genders Eligible for Study: Both

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Elbow pain for at least 6 weeks and satisfy the widely accepted diagnostic criteria of lateral epicondylalgia
  • Diagnostic criteria are pain over the lateral humeral epicondyle that is provoked by gripping activities
  • Reduced grip strength and increased sensitivity to manual palpation over the lateral epicondyle
  • Reproduction of pain with stretching of the forearm extensor muscles or with specific resisted static contraction of extensor carpi radialis brevis is also usually present.

Exclusion Criteria.

  • In the preceding 6 months, had consulted a health care practitioner for neck or arm pain or injury, other than lateral epicondylalgia, which has prevented participation in usual work or recreational activities
  • Had treatment with physiotherapy or corticosteroid injections for lateral epicondylalgia in the preceding 6 months
  • Upper limb fractures
  • Diseases of the bone, muscle and nervous systems that preclude treatment by any of the treatments being evaluated in the project.

Total Enrolment


Contact Details

Musculoskeletal Pain & Injury Research Unit, Division of Physiotherapy, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia

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