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  1. Martin P Schwellnus
  1. University of Cape Town, South Africa

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    An alternative approach to treating lateral epicondylitis; A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study

    ▸ Nourbakhsh MR, Fearon FJ. Clin Rehabil 2008;22:601–9.


    There are many treatment modalities for lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), and therefore alternative treatment for this condition are sought constantly.

    Research question/s:

    Does low-frequency electrical stimulation improve pain, grip strength and functional abilities in subjects with chronic lateral epicondylitis?


    Subjects: 18 subjects (24–72 years) with chronic lateral epicondylitis (no treatment for > 3 months).

    Experimental procedure: All the subjects were assessed and then randomly assigned to six sessions of treatment over 2–3 weeks by either 1) low-frequency electrical stimulation over the palpated tender points (ELEC = 10, 4 Hz, 30 sec over tender point) or 2) placebo (CON = 8, similar electrical stimulation but set at 0). Pain (intensity and limitations), function, and grip strength were assessed before and after treatment and the ELEC group was reassessed at 6 months.

    Measures of outcome: Pain intensity and limitation of activity due to pain (11 point scale), function (patient-specific function scale), grip strength (hand-held dynamometer).

    Main finding/s:

    6 months follow-up (ELEC group): after 6 months 100% of subjects in the ELEC group maintained the improved function, while 83% remained pain-free.


    In a small, short-term follow-up, randomised clinical trial, low-frequency electrical stimulation reduced pain and improved …

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