SATURDAY, July 11 -- A simple exercise to strengthen the wrist may ease the pain of tennis elbow, a new study suggests.
Using an inexpensive rubber bar to perform isolated eccentric wrist extensor strengthening exercises resulted in significantly greater improvements in pain, movement and strength for one group of patients vs. another group that did more standard isotonic wrist-strengthening exercises that focus on resistance. The eccentric group did three sets of 15 repetitions daily.
Both groups also received wrist extensor stretching, ultrasound, cross-friction massage, heat and ice treatment for their tennis elbow, a painful condition in the elbow or forearm that affects about 3 percent of the general population.
"Compared to other treatments for tennis elbow, such as cortisone injections or topical nitric oxide, which require direct medical supervision and often [cause] side effects, this treatment is not only cost-effective, but dosage is not limited by the patient having to come to a clinic," study author Timothy F. Tyler, a clinical research associate with the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York City, said in a news release.
The study is scheduled to be presented Saturday at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine annual meeting, in Keystone, Colo.