Myofascial pain in lateral epicondylalgia: a review

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2013 Oct;17(4):434-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.02.003. Epub 2013 Apr 21.


Background: There is an ongoing debate about the myofascial component, characterized by the presence of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) in lateral epicondylalgia (LE).

Objectives: To review current evidence of the association between myofascial pain and LE, including efficacy of treatment, focusing on myofascial pain.

Methods: PubMed, Google Scholar and PEDro databases were searched without search limitations from inception until October 2012 for terms relating to LE and MTrPs.

Results: Two observational studies showed a high prevalence of MTrPs in LE patients compared to healthy controls. Three randomized controlled trials demonstrated significant improvement in pain and functional outcomes after application of soft tissue techniques, focusing on the myofascial component.

Conclusion: Myofascial pain and MTrPs may be part of the LE etiology. Treatment focusing on the myofascial component seems to be effective in reducing pain and improving function in patients with LE. Additional trials are essential to attain a solid conclusion.

Keywords: Lateral epicondylalgia; Myofascial pain; Myofascial trigger points; Review; Tennis elbow; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Tennis Elbow / epidemiology*