Abstract: Background: Physiotherapy is recommended for people with tennis elbow, but whilst a wide array of treatments is available, the optimal approach remains uncertain. We have therefore recently developed an optimised physiotherapy treatment package for tennis elbow based on a synthesis of the evidence, patient input and clinical consensus. It consists of detailed advice and education, a structured progressive exercise programme and provision of a counter-force elbow brace. Here, we report the protocol for our multicentre pilot and feasibility randomised controlled trial (RCT) designed to (a) examine the feasibility of our optimised physiotherapy treatment package and (b) to pilot trial processes for a future fully powered RCT to test clinical and cost-effectiveness compared with usual physiotherapy treatment. Methods: A multicentre pilot and feasibility RCT will be conducted across three sites in England, recruiting up to 50 patients (or for a maximum of 12 months). Participants with tennis elbow, identified from physiotherapy clinic waiting lists and general practice surgeries, will be randomly allocated to receive the optimised physiotherapy treatment package or usual physiotherapy care. Analysis will focus on feasibility measures including consent rate, intervention fidelity, follow-up rate and outcome completion rate. A nested qualitative study will explore the acceptability of the study processes and patient and physiotherapist experiences of the new optimised intervention. Discussion: This study will determine the feasibility of a new optimised physiotherapy treatment package for people with tennis elbow and pilot the processes for a future fully powered RCT. In the longer term, this treatment package may provide superior clinical outcomes for patients, in terms of pain and quality of life, and be more cost-effective for the health service. Trial registration: Registered with the ISRCTN database 19/7/2021, https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN64444585
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Issue number1
Early online date11 Aug 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Aug 2022


  • Study Protocol
  • Physiotherapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Lateral elbow tendinopathy
  • Tennis elbow
  • Pilot
  • Feasibility


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