Background Home and supervised exercise programmes consisting of stretching and eccentric exercises have been recommended for the management of lateral elbow tendinopathy (LET). No studies have examined their comparative efficacy effectiveness.
Objective In this study, whether a home exercise programme is more successful than a supervised exercise programme in treating patients with LET was investigated.
Methods Patients with unilateral LET for at least 4 weeks were included in this trial. They were sequentially allocated to receive either a home exercise programme or a supervised exercise programme five times a week for 12 weeks. The exercise programme consisted of slow progressive eccentric exercises of wrist extensors and static stretching of the extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon. Outcome measures were pain, using a visual analogue scale, and function, using a visual analogue scale and the pain-free grip strength. Patients were evaluated at baseline, at the end of treatment (week 12), and 3 months (week 24) after the end of treatment.
Results 70 patients met the inclusion criteria. At the end of treatment, there was a decline in pain and a rise in function in both groups compared with baseline (p<0.0005, paired t test). There were significant differences in the reduction of pain and the improvement of function between the groups at the end of treatment and at the 3-month follow up; the supervised exercise programme produced the largest effect (p<0.0005, independent t test).
Conclusions Supervised exercise programme is superior to home exercise programme to reduce pain and improve function in patients with LET at the end of the treatment and at the follow-up. Further research is needed to confirm our results.
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