The Short-term Efficacy of Laser, Brace, and Ultrasound Treatment in Lateral Epicondylitis: A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Trial


      The aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and to compare these with the effects of brace or ultrasound (US) treatment in tennis elbow. The study design used was a prospective and randomized, controlled, single-blind trial. Fifty-eight outpatients with lateral epicondylitis (9 men, 49 women) were included in the trial. The patients were divided into three groups: 1) brace group—brace plus exercise, 2) ultrasound group—US plus exercise, and 3) laser group—LLLT plus exercise. Patients in the brace group used a lateral counterforce brace for three weeks, US plus hot pack in the ultrasound group, and laser plus hot pack in the LLLT group. In addition, all patients were given progressive stretching and strengthening exercise programs. Grip strength and pain severity were evaluated with visual analog scale (VAS) at baseline, at the second week of treatment, and at the sixth week of treatment. VAS improved significantly in all groups after the treatment and in the ultrasound and laser groups at the sixth week (p<0.05). Grip strength of the affected hand increased only in the laser group after treatment, but was not changed at the sixth week. There were no significant differences between the groups on VAS and grip strength at baseline and at follow-up assessments. The results show that, in patients with lateral epicondylitis, a brace has a shorter beneficial effect than US and laser therapy in reducing pain, and that laser therapy is more effective than the brace and US treatment in improving grip strength.
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      JHT Read for Credit

      Quiz: Article # 080

      Record your answers on the Return Answer Form found on the tear-out coupon at the back of this issue. There is only one best answer for each question.
      • #1.
        This study used a ______________ design
        • a.
          randomized, retrospective
        • b.
          linear, prospective
        • c.
          randomized, prospective
        • d.
          linear, retrospective
      • #2.
        Outcomes measures included
        • a.
          pain and grip
        • b.
          pain and function
        • c.
          grip and function
        • d.
          pain, grip, and ROM
      • #3.
        The results indicated that
        • a.
          bracing had a greater effect in improving grip than laser
        • b.
          bracing had a greater effect in improving grip than US
        • c.
          bracing had a longer duration effect in reducing pain than US and laser
        • d.
          bracing had a shorter duration effect in reducing pain than US and laser
      • #4.
        The type of brace studied was
        • a.
          a static wrist extension splint
        • b.
          an elbow flexion block splint
        • c.
          a counter force brace
        • d.
          a modified sugar long splint
      • #5.
        The authors cite prior studies that suggest that
        • a.
          LLLT is effective in treating lateral epicondylitis
        • b.
          LLLT is ineffective in treating lateral epicondylitis
        • c.
          LLLT is contraindicated in treating lateral epicondylitis
        • d.
          LLLT is approved for use in Turkey but not approved in the US
      When submitting to the HTCC for re-certification, please batch your JHT RFC certificates in groups of 3 or more to get full credit.

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