STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive, cross-sectional. OBJECTIVES: To compare static strength characteristics of the upper extremity musculature in female recreational tennis players with lateral epicondylalgia to those of nonsymptomatic tennis players and a control group of women who did not play tennis. BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of research describing the relationship between lateral epicondylalgia and strength characteristics of the upper extremity musculature, despite the functional relationship between the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. METHODS: Sixty-three women were recruited into 3 groups (n = 21 per group): symptomatic tennis players (STP) with lateral epicondylalgia, nonsymptomatic tennis players, and controls. Data collection was performed during a single session, during which the strength of selected muscle groups of the dominant upper extremity was measured using a combination of force transducers. Strength ratios of selected muscle groups were then calculated. RESULTS: The STP group reported median pain level of 3/10 on a numeric pain rating scale and a symptom duration of 16 weeks. The STP group had weaker lower trapezius strength (mean difference, –9.0 N; 95% confidence interval [CI]: –13.5, –4.4) and wrist extensor strength (–12.7 N; 95% CI: –24.4, –1.1), and a higher shoulder internal/external rotation strength ratio (0.19; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.35) and upper/lower trapezius strength ratio (1.32; 95% CI: 0.41, 2.23), compared to those of the nonsymptomatic group. Compared to the control group, the STP group demonstrated a significantly higher shoulder internal/external rotation strength ratio (0.21; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.38) and wrist flexion/extension strength ratio (0.14; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.27). CONCLUSION: In this group of recreational female tennis players, significant differences in strength and strength ratio characteristics were identified. Although the design of the study precludes establishing a cause-and-effect relationship, the results suggest further study and treatment of the muscle groups of interest.
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2012;42(12):1025-1031, Epub 5 September 2012. doi:10.2519/jospt.2012.4095
KEY WORDS: lateral epicondylitis, shoulder, tennis elbow, wrist
The authors compare static strength characteristics of the upper extremity musculature in female recreational tennis players with lateral epicondylalgia to those of nonsymptomatic tennis players and a control group of women who did not play tennis.