Relationships between biomechanics, tendon pathology, and function in individuals with lateral epicondylosis

Amrish O. Chourasia, Kevin A. Buhr, David P. Rabago, Richard Kijowski, Kenneth S. Lee, Michael P. Ryan, Jessica M. Grettie-Belling, Mary E. Sesto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN: Single-cohort descriptive and correlational study. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the relationships between tendon pathology, biomechanical measures, and self-reported pain and function in individuals with chronic lateral epicondylosis. BACKGROUND: Lateral epicondylosis has a multifactorial etiology and its pathophysiology is not well understood. Consequently, treatment remains challenging, and lateral epicondylosis is prone to recurrence. While tendon pathology, pain system changes, and motor impairments due to lateral epicondylosis are considered related, their relationships have not been thoroughly investigated. METHODS: Twenty-six participants with either unilateral (n = 11) or bilateral (n = 15) chronic lateral epicondylosis participated in this study. Biomechanical measures (grip strength, rate of force development, and electromechanical delay) and measures of tendon pathology (magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound) and self-reported pain and function (Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation) were performed. Partial Spearman correlations, adjusting for covariates (age, gender, weight, and height), were used to evaluate the relationship between self-reported pain, function, and biomechanical and tendon pathology measures. RESULTS: Statistically significant correlations between biomechanical measures and the Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation ranged in magnitude from 0.44 to 0.68 (P<.05); however, no significant correlation was observed between tendon pathology (magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound) measures and the Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation (r = -0.02 to 0.31, P>.05). Rate of force development had a stronger correlation (r = 0.54-0.68, P<.05) with self-reported function score than with grip strength (r = 0.35-0.47, P<.05) or electromechanical delay (r = 0.5, P<.05). CONCLUSION: Biomechanical measures (pain-free grip strength, rate of force development, electromechanical delay) have the potential to be used as outcome measures to monitor progress in lateral epicondylosis. In comparison, the imaging measures (magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound) were useful for visualizing the pathophysiology of lateral epicondylosis. However, the severity of the pathophysiology was not related to pain and function, indicating that imaging measures may not provide the best clinical assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-378
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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