Biomechanical Evaluation of Braces Used for the Treatment of Epicondylitis

Author(s): Walther M, Kirschner S, Koenig A, Barthel T, Gohlke F

Source: J Shoulder Elbow Surg 11: 265-270, 2002

Summary:

This study investigates the biomechanical effects of different types of braces used in patients with lateral epicondylitis.  Both vibration and acceleration of the forearm and elbow were measured with sensors taped to defined intact points on the skin’s surface. Impact induced vibration of the racket arm system was analyzed with the subject playing tennis. In addition, different designed braces were investigated with respect to acceleration and amplitude at acceleration intervals.
 
The clasp-based brace system showed a slight reduction of acceleration amplitudes and acceleration intervals. Braces with pads at the lateral epicondyle reduced acceleration amplitude by 20% and acceleration intervals by 22%. Braces with pads based at the forearm showed the highest reduction of acceleration amplitudes by 46% and acceleration intervals by 42%. Braces with pads placed at the forearm distal to the lateral epicondyle had the highest reduction of peak to peak acceleration. The oscillating time was 30-40% shorter within individuals. This brace seems to interfere highly with the oscillation properties, resulting in lower peak of resonance frequency in the spectral analysis. While clinical significance remains unclear, this study provides data to support the use of a brace with a pad at the proximal forearm.

Related Links