I've been having a terrible time with tennis elbow. Nothing seems to help. Would a brace do me any good?

There's a good way to find out. A new study suggests using the Extensor Grip Test (EGT). You'll need someone to help you with this. First pull your wrist and hand back toward your face. This motion is called wrist extension or dorsiflexion.

Now have someone else grip firmly around the forearm just below the elbow. The other person's hand gripping your forearm should mimic a brace.

Rest one minute. Repeat the test in reverse order. Have the other person grip your forearm just below the elbow. While the helper is holding the grip, extend your wrist. Is the pain better or worse? If it's better, that's a sign that a brace might help.

If your painful symptoms are NOT any better, then you may be helped more by physical therapy. At least that's the advice of a group of Dutch researchers who studied the EGT. They tested three groups using the EGT. One group used only a brace. A second group had only physical therapy (PT). The third group had both a brace and PT. About half the patients with a positive EGT got much better or completely recovered with a brace. Likewise, at least half the group with a negative EGT had success with PT.