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Eighteen subjects participated in a randomized controlled clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of two physical therapy treatments for tennis elbow. The subjects were divided into two groups: In the neural tension group (NTG), the head of the radius was mobilized and specific physical therapy mobilizations were used to address hypomobility of the radial nerve. The standard treatment group (STG) received ultrasound, transverse friction massage, and stretching and strengthening exercises for the extensors of the wrist. All subjects were treated twice weekly for 6 to 8 weeks. Follow-up data were obtained at 3 months post-treatment. Subjects who received radial head mobilization improved over time (p < .05), while those who did not receive radial head mobilization did not improve. Results of the NTG treatment were linked to the radial head treatment, and isolated effects of the NTG treatment could not be determined. There were no long-term positive results in the STG.
Wendy I. Drechsler is with the Laboratory of Human Performance and Motion Analysis, University of East London, Romford Rd., Stratford, London, UK E15-4LZ. John F. Knarr and Lynn Snyder-Mackler are with the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716.