Background: Lateral epicondylitis has been studied mainly in work related and occupational groups, however little is known about the incidence or demographic associations in the general population. We have undertaken a large study using The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database to examine the epidemiology of lateral epicondylitis in the UK general population. Methods: Diagnoses of lateral epicondylitis between 1987 and 2006 were used to calculate the incidence stratified by age, gender, deprivation score, UK health authority, and year. The age standardised rates for lateral epicondylitis in the UK were calculated with reference to the European Standard Population. Results: The incidence rate of lateral epicondylitis was 2.45 per 1000 person-years. This was more common in males than females (males 2.63, females 2.55 per 1000 person-years, p < 0.001). After direct standardization, the age adjusted rates were 2.38 for males and 2.43 for females. The highest incidence rate of 7.35 per 1000 person-years was found in the age group 45-50 years. Regional distribution of the incidence rates showed a fairly even spread across 13 UK Health Authorities with the exception of London where incidence rates were significantly lower (1.75 per 1000 person-years, p < 0.001). Social deprivation was assessed using the Townsend score. The least deprived areas of the population had the highest incidence rates (2.86 per 1000 person years). Conclusions: Our study represents the largest general population study of lateral epicondylitis reported to date. The results obtained provide the clinician with a better understanding of the epidemiology of lateral epicondylitis in the community.
- Lateral epicondylitis
- tennis elbow
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation