Physical Therapy ,Tennis Elbow & Eccentric Exercises in The New York Times!!

On August 25, 2009 the New York Times published a study presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine conference, which showed a POSITIVE side of Physical Therapy.

This study randomly allocated patients with chronic lateral epicondylitis to either “regular” PT or PT with eccentric home exercises using a Theraband� Flexbar�.

The regular PT included wrist extensor stretching, ultrasound, cross friction massage, heat, ice and isotonic exercises. The second PT included all the above PLUS eccentric exercises 3 sets of 15 repetitions with 30 seconds breaks between each set. The eccentric phase was approximately 4 seconds in duration. They subjects were to perform the exercise once per day.

In summary, after 7 weeks, the mean improvement in pain was 81% in the group that used the eccentric bar compared with 22% in the control group (P<0.0001).

“The treatment was so superior, we stopped the study early to let the other patients get the same benefit,” says the leading PT researcher Timothy F. Tyler

Personal Comment: The bar is relatively cheap (approx. $20 at, and the exercise is very simple. I would personally also add wrist flexor stretching exercises as increased tone of the wrist flexors may theoretically add more resistance to wrist extensors. Along with the Mulligan based elbow mobilizations and I would definitely also address posture and the neck!

If you wish to read the NY Times article (available for free) and see a short video clip, visit

Posted on: February 23, 2010

Categories: Elbow

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