Strength and pain measures associated with lateral epicondylitis bracing

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1998 Jul;79(7):832-7. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(98)90366-5.


Objective: To determine the effect of bracing on measures of pain-free grip strength and pain scores in individuals with unilateral lateral epicondylitis through a comparison of two elbow braces, a placebo brace, and a no-brace situation.

Design: Repeated-measures design in which the subjects acted as their own controls.

Setting: A clinical research laboratory at a hand and upper limb clinic.

Patients: Fifty individuals diagnosed by a physician with unilateral lateral epicondylitis, having symptoms for at least 3 weeks, were recruited from the community.

Interventions: The braces studied were the Count'R-Force Tennis Elbow Brace, the Body Glove Airprene Elbow Support, and a placebo brace that consisted of a modified DePuy Levy Clinic Patella Strap.

Main outcome measures: Pain-free grip strength measured using an NK Biotechnical Corporation Hand Assessment System DIGIT-grip Device and pain scores measured on a visual numeric rating scale.

Results: No significant differences in pain-free grip strength or pain were observed between any of the test situations (p > .05). Pain during the test, however, was greater than pain before or after the test (p < .05).

Conclusions: When tests were completed on one occasion with the brace on, no advantages of elbow bracing were detected. Whether bracing is effective when used as a treatment technique for an extended period of time should be addressed in future research.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Braces*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Tennis Elbow / physiopathology
  • Tennis Elbow / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome