Electromyographic patterns of individuals suffering from lateral tennis elbow

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 1999 Aug;9(4):245-52. doi: 10.1016/s1050-6411(98)00051-0.


This study investigated the applicability of using surface electromyography (EMG) as a tool for differentiating between persons suffering from lateral tennis elbow and the healthy age-matched adults. Temporal muscle activation patterns of the tennis elbow group were evaluated to determine if they varied between subject groups and if noted variations might be interpreted as arresting or exacerbating the injury. Sixteen subjects (Healthy Controls, n = 6; Tennis Elbow, n = 10) were tested under simulated tennis playing conditions. All subjects were males (Healthy group (CON) 38.8 +/- 13.1, Injured group (INJ) 40.8 +/- 10.8 yrs). EMG response data, temporal and spatial muscle activities, of the forearm extensors (Ext), the forearm flexors (Flex) and the triceps (Tri) were recorded for each subject during a single test session using all combinations of three different velocities on three different racket head impact locations. Data were collected at a frequency of 1000 Hz. Statistical analysis was performed using a 2 x 3 x 3 (Health status x Impact velocity x Impact location) ANOVA with repeated measures. Results indicated statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between the CON and INJ subject groups for the response variables associated with forearm extensor muscle activation. During simulated play, the INJ group employed an earlier, longer, and greater activation of Ext than the CON group, such changes may be considered detrimental to the healing process. These results support the use of surface EMG to quantify differences in muscle activation strategies employed by individuals suffering from soft tissue muscle microtrauma injuries and healthy controls.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Electromyography*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Tennis / physiology
  • Tennis Elbow / physiopathology*