The effect of cryotherapy and exercise on lateral epicondylitis: A controlled randomised study

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Aims: The purposes of this randomised clinical trial were to determine the effect that exercise, cryotherapy, and exercise with cryotherapy have on treating lateral epicondylitis. The therapeutic efficacy of a newly designed controlled release cold pack was also investigated. Methods: Grip strength and pain were measured, and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire (DASH) was given before and after a home programme consisting of either exercise only, exercise with a conventional cold pack, exercise with a Cryo-MAX®, and Cryo-MAX® without exercise. Cryo-Max® is the commercial name given to the cold pack that remains consistently cold for an extended time. Findings: ANCOVA showed significant improvements between pre and post-treatment values for DASH, pain level, and grip strength for all subject groups receiving treatment. No treatment group was superior to the other, indicating that exercise and cryotherapy alone was as effective as the combination of exercise and cryotherapy. In addition, the type of cold pack used (conventional or Cryo-Max®) also showed no significant difference. Conclusions: Exercise and cryotherapy used in isolation or in combination reduces the symptoms of lateral epicondylitis. Cryo-MAX® was preferred over conventional cold packs but it did not have any additional therapeutic benefit.

Publication Title

International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation