The short-term efficacy of laser, brace, and ultrasound treatment in lateral epicondylitis: a prospective, randomized, controlled trial

J Hand Ther. Jan-Mar 2008;21(1):63-7; quiz 68. doi: 10.1197/j.jht.2007.09.003.

Abstract

The aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and to compare these with the effects of brace or ultrasound (US) treatment in tennis elbow. The study design used was a prospective and randomized, controlled, single-blind trial. Fifty-eight outpatients with lateral epicondylitis (9 men, 49 women) were included in the trial. The patients were divided into three groups: 1) brace group-brace plus exercise, 2) ultrasound group-US plus exercise, and 3) laser group-LLLT plus exercise. Patients in the brace group used a lateral counterforce brace for three weeks, US plus hot pack in the ultrasound group, and laser plus hot pack in the LLLT group. In addition, all patients were given progressive stretching and strengthening exercise programs. Grip strength and pain severity were evaluated with visual analog scale (VAS) at baseline, at the second week of treatment, and at the sixth week of treatment. VAS improved significantly in all groups after the treatment and in the ultrasound and laser groups at the sixth week (p<0.05). Grip strength of the affected hand increased only in the laser group after treatment, but was not changed at the sixth week. There were no significant differences between the groups on VAS and grip strength at baseline and at follow-up assessments. The results show that, in patients with lateral epicondylitis, a brace has a shorter beneficial effect than US and laser therapy in reducing pain, and that laser therapy is more effective than the brace and US treatment in improving grip strength.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Braces*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tennis Elbow / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonic Therapy*