Scapular muscle performance in individuals with LE
Conservative treatment of individuals with lateral epicondylalgia (LE) is unfortunately associated with poor long-term outcomes, suggesting a less than optimal rehabilitation process. It has been postulated for some time now that scapular muscle function is inherently correlated with symptoms at the lateral elbow. The aim of the following study was to determine scapular muscle strength, endurance and change in thickness amongst individuals with LE, compared to their contralateral elbow, as well as the corresponding limb in a matched control group.
28 LE patients were matched by 28 healthy controls. The symptomatic side of the LE group had significantly lower values for strength at the middle trapezius, serratus anterior, lower trapezius, along with less endurance and thickness of serratus anterior compared with the control group. Furthermore, the involved elbow was weaker at lower trapezius and serratus anterior compared to the uninvolved elbow of the LE group.
These results suggest that the scapular musculature be assessed and potentially treated in this population of patients with LE.
> From: Day et al., J Orthop Sports Phys Ther (2015) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Click here for the Pubmed summary.