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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Mar;83(3):317-21.

Chronic medial and lateral epicondylitis: a comparison of pain, disability, and function.

Author information

  • 1Oulu Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu University Hospital, Aapistie 1, FIN-90220 Oulu, Finland. tuomo.pienimaki@occuphealth.fi

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate pain, disability, and muscle function of the arm in medial epicondylitis and to compare the results with those in chronic lateral epicondylitis.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional, case-control study.

SETTING:

University hospital clinic admitting chronic hand patients.

PARTICIPANTS:

Twenty-five patients with chronic unilateral medial epicondylitis and 25 age- and gender-matched patients with chronic unilateral lateral epicondylitis.

INTERVENTIONS:

Not applicable.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Pain drawing (PD) and a pain questionnaire with 7 items of pain and disability on visual analog scale (VAS). Dolorimeter measurements of pressure pain thresholds (PPT) on 3 defined cubital points. The isometric grip strength and isokinetic performance of wrist and forearm at a radial velocity of 90 degrees/s.

RESULTS:

Patients with medial epicondylitis had significantly less pain under strain (6.7 vs 7.9cm on VAS, P =.03) and a smaller PD (1.9 vs 2.5, P =.02) than patients with lateral epicondylitis. The PPTs of medial epicondyles were 54% (P =.0000) lower in medial epicondylitis. In lateral epicondylitis, all 3 cubital points showed significant decreases in PPTs. The isometric grip strength (mean and maximal) decreased by 6.2% and 3.6%, compared with the patients' healthy arms (P =.03,.16) and by 11.4% and 8.9% (P =.008,.02), respectively, compared with the expected value; in lateral epicondylitis, the grip strength decreased by 11.8% and 10.6% (P =.005,.01) and by 15% and 14% (P =.003,.007), respectively, when compared with the expected grip strength. Peak torque and produced work in wrist flexion were significantly reduced by 13% and 17% (P =.005,.0001), respectively, in both diseases. In lateral epicondylitis, supination and pronation were also reduced by 10% and 15% (P =.03).

CONCLUSIONS:

In chronic medial epicondylitis, muscle function and pain measures showed a lesser impaired function of the arm than in chronic lateral epicondylitis. The results may be useful in rehabilitation and treatment of epicondylitis.

Copyright 2002 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

PMID:
11887110
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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