The beneficial effects of eccentric exercise in the management of lateral elbow tendinopathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Review written by Jared Powell info

Key Points

  1. Exercise is a recommended intervention to manage lateral elbow tendinopathy (LET).
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Lateral elbow tendinopathy (LET), colloquially known as tennis elbow, is the most common musculoskeletal condition affecting the elbow. LET is prevalent in the community with a lifetime prevalence of up to 40% and a point prevalence of 2% (1). Not just prevalent, LET can severely impact quality of life and physical function. The management of LET is an important problem for physiotherapists to maximize outcomes for people suffering with this condition.

The core interventions for management of LET are exercise, education and mobilizations of the ulnar-radial humeral articulation (1). Exercise typically means strengthening of the common extensor muscle-tendon complex, either in an isometric, isotonic, concentric or eccentric fashion.

Eccentric exercise has been a popular intervention for managing various tendinopathy presentations, including the achilles, patella and rotator cuff tendons. To date, eccentric exercise has not proven to be superior to other strengthening types in any of these tendinopathies (2,3,4). This systematic review and meta-analysis set out to compare eccentric exercise to other strengthening types and to non-exercise management for the management of LET.

The core interventions for management of LET are exercise, education and mobilizations of the ulnar-radial humeral articulation.
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There is no clinically important difference between eccentric exercise and other types of strengthening exercise for LET.

METHODS

This was a systematic review and meta-analysis. The inclusion criteria were:

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