Eccentric Training for Lateral Epicondylitis

Non-operative treatment regime including eccentric training for lateral humeral epicondylalgia. Svernlov B, Adolfsson L. Scand J Med Sci Sports. Dec 2001;11(6):328-334.


In a pilot study 38 patients with lateral humeral epicondylalgia were randomly allocated to two treatment groups. Group S (stretching) was treated with a contract-relax-stretching program while group E (eccentric exercise) underwent an eccentric exercise program. Both groups also received forearm bands and wrist support nightly. The programs were carried out daily at home during 12 weeks. Evaluation before and 3, 6 and 12 months after treatment, included subjective assessment of symptoms using visual analogue scales and grip strength measurements. Thirty-five patients were available for follow-up. Five patients, three in group S and two in group E, did not complete the programs due to increased pain while 30 (86%) reported complete recovery or improvement. Reduced pain and increased grip strength were seen in both treatment groups but 12 out of 17 patients (71%) in group E rated themselves as completely recovered as compared to 7 out of 18 (39%) in group S (P=0.09), and in group E the increase in grip strength after 6 months was statistically significantly larger than in group S. In a second study the eccentric training regime was used in a consecutive series of 129 patients with lateral epicondylalgia. The patients were divided into two groups with one group consisting of patients with less than one year duration of symptoms and the other comprised patients with a duration of symptoms for more than one year. The results of treatment were evaluated in the same way as in the pilot study, and also after 3.4 years using the scoring system by Verhaar et al. At the end of the treatment period statistically significant improvements were seen in all VAS recordings and in grip strength. After 3.4 years 38% had excellent, 28% good, 25% fair and 9% poor results according to the score. In the self-rated outcome 54% regarded themselves as completely recovered, 43% improved, 2% unchanged and 2% worse. No significant differences were seen between patients with a duration of symptoms for more than one year compared to patients with symptoms for less than one year. The eccentric training regime can considerably reduce symptoms in a majority of patients with lateral humeral epicondylalgia, regardless of duration, and is possibly superior to conventional stretching.

Diagnosis:  Lateral Epicondylitis

Outcome:  VAS at rest, palpation, resistance, middle finger, grip but data not given between groups. Slight edge given to eccentric group over stretching but results poorly reported and follow up so far out that difficult to determine if either group better off than if no treatment. Also eccentric protocol so low in resistance, reps, and slow of progression as to be of doubtful efficacy.

When Assessed:  3 months, 6 months, 1 year

Subjects:  Eccentric group 13 men & 2 women, ave age 42. Stretch group 9 women 6 men, ave age 43.

Protocol:  Eccentric group did warm up, static stretches, 3 sets of 5 reps of eccentric reverse wrist curls starting with 1kg for men and 0.5kg women adding 10% per week, exercise performed once daily

Other Activity:  “No change in usual working or training activities was prescribed; instead all patients were encouraged to use the affected arm as much as pain allowed.”

Chad’s Comments:   “Previous steroid injections associated with inferior results.”

Thanks for reading my blog. If you have any questions or comments (even hostile ones) please don’t hesitate to ask/share. If you’re reading one of my older blogs, perhaps unrelated to neck or back pain, and it helps you, please remember Spinal Flow Yoga for you or someone you know in the future.

Chad Reilly is a Physical Therapist, obtaining his Master’s in Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. Exercise Science also from NAU. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and holds a USA Weightlifting Club Coach Certification as well as a NASM Personal Training Certificate. Chad completed his Yoga Teacher Training at Sampoorna Yoga in Goa, India.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hello! Thanks for checking out Spinal Flow Yoga®!

This is one of my older “legacy” blogs from my prior physical therapy site. If the information you find here seems only moderately related, or a bit technical for yoga, it’s because I wrote it with a different, but still overlapping, audience in mind. However, I think each blog does showcase my thought processes and research base, both of which very much influenced what evolved into Spinal Flow Yoga®.

Further, given that spine pain has long been a favorite topic of mine, much of the content within these older blogs will be directly relevant to Spinal Flow® even if at times I criticized yoga. In fact, that’s why I created Spinal Flow Yoga®, to correct what were, and still are, many physical problems in modern yoga sequences. Time permitting, I may revisit some of my favorites blogs add some content relating them to newer Spinal Flow® concepts that aim to cure neck and back pain as well as improve overall health and fitness from the comfort of your own home without the need for equipment. Hopefully that will make more sense out of why this blog is here. And if you have neck or back pain, you're in luck. Before you needed a gym to utilize my methods, but I've been working hard, gearing it towards home training, and efficiency and effectiveness have been remarkable. Hit the button to learn more about SC5 and SF5, my 5-minute flows, both of which I'm very proud of.