An exercise programme for the management of lateral elbow tendinopathy
Johnson, Mark I.
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Background: Home exercise programmes and exercise programmes carried out in a clinical setting are commonly advocated for the treatment of lateral elbow tendinopathy (LET), a very common lesion of the arm with a well-defined clinical presentation. The aim of this study is to describe the use and effects of strengthening and stretching exercise programmes in the treatment of LET. Eccentric exercises: Slow progressive eccentric exercises for LET should be performed with the elbow in extension, forearm in pronation, and wrist in extended position (as high as possible). However, it is unclear how the injured tendon, which is loaded eccentrically, returns to the starting position without experiencing concentric loading and how the "slowness" of eccentric exercises should be defined. Nor has the treatment regimen of the eccentric exercises of a supervised exercise programme been defined. Stretching exercises: Static stretching is defined as passively stretching a given muscle-tendon unit by slowly placing and maintaining it in a maximal position of stretch. We recommend the position should be held for 30-45 s, three times before and three times after eccentric exercises during each treatment session with a 30 s rest interval between each procedure. The treatment region of static stretching exercises when a supervised exercise programme is performed is unknown. Discussion: A well designed trial is needed to study the effectiveness of a supervised exercise programme for LET consisting of eccentric and static stretching exercises. The issues relating to the supervised exercise programme should be defined so that therapists can replicate the programme.