Cyriax physiotherapy versus phonophoresis with supervised exercise in subjects with lateral epicondylalgia: a randomized clinical trial

J Man Manip Ther. 2009;17(3):171-8. doi: 10.1179/jmt.2009.17.3.171.


Cyriax and Cyriax advocated the use of deep transverse friction massage in combination with Mill's manipulation in treating lateral epicondylalgia. Evidence comparing this approach with other physical therapies is lacking. The purpose of this randomized clinical trial was to compare the effectiveness of deep transverse friction massage with Mill's manipulation versus phonophoresis with supervised exercise in managing lateral epicondylalgia. Sixty patients age 30-60, presenting with the teno-periosteal variety of lateral epicondylalgia with symptom duration greater than one month, were randomized into two groups. The control group received phonophoresis with diclofenac gel over the area of the lateral epicondyle for 5 minutes combined with supervised exercise. The experimental group received 10 minutes of deep transverse friction massage followed by a single application of Mill's manipulation. Both groups received treatment 3 times per week for 4 weeks. Outcomes of interest included pain via visual analog scale (VAS), pain-free grip strength, and functional status measured with the Tennis Elbow Function Scale. Data were analyzed using a one-way ANOVA. Whereas both groups improved significantly from the initiation of treatment, a between-group comparison revealed significantly greater (p<0.05) improvements regarding pain, pain-free grip, and functional status for the experimental group compared to the control group. The results of this study demonstrate that Cyriax physiotherapy is a superior treatment approach compared to phonophoresis and exercise in managing lateral epicondylalgia.

Keywords: Cyriax's Physiotherapy; Lateral Epicondylalgia; Mill's Manipulation; Phonophoresis; Tennis Elbow.