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Pain Res Treat. 2013;2013:353597. doi: 10.1155/2013/353597. Epub 2013 Nov 19.

The immediate effects of orthoses on pain in people with lateral epicondylalgia.

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Musculoskeletal Research Center, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Hezarjarib Blvd, Isfahan, Iran.



Tennis elbow is a common cause of upper limb dysfunction and a primary reason for pain at the lateral aspect of the elbow. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of three commonly used orthoses on pain severity. An elbow band, an elbow sleeve, and a wrist splint were assessed for their ability to reduce the level of reported pain.


A crossover randomized controlled trial was used. The orthoses were worn in a randomized order, and all participants were required to complete a control trial for which they wore a placebo orthosis. 52 participants with lateral epicondylalgia were recruited, and the level of pain at their elbow was recorded using the visual analogue scale (VAS).


The reported pain for all orthoses was lower than that of the placebo (P < 0.05). Pain reduction was significantly greater with a counterforce elbow band or a counterforce elbow sleeve compared to a wrist splint (P < 0.01). There was no significant difference between a counterforce elbow band and a counterforce elbow sleeve (P = 0.23).


All the types of orthoses studied showed an immediate improvement on pain severity in people with lateral epicondylalgia. The counterforce elbow orthoses (elbow band and elbow sleeve) presented the greatest improvement, suggesting that either of them can be used as a first treatment choice to alleviate the pain in people with tennis elbow.

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