Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Studies were included if they compared an orthotic treatment group against a control group (an alternative treatment or different type of orthosis), or compared pre-orthotic with post-orthotic treatment periods. All studies that clearly described a scientific methodology were included. Single case-studies were excluded.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies were included if they evaluated the effects of monoarticular elbow orthoses. Studies of functional electrical stimulation orthoses, fracture braces, post-surgical orthoses and polyarticular orthoses were excluded. A range of orthoses were evaluated in the included studies.
Participants included in the review
Studies were included if they were limited to a specific patient group, rather than healthy volunteers. The selected studies included patients with joint contractures, neurological disorders, epicondylitis or acute painful disorders of the elbow.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The authors did not state any inclusion criteria in relation to the outcomes. Range of motion (ROM), symptom severity, ulnar nerve conduction, sensation, pain, motor function and muscle strength were among the outcomes measured by the included studies.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
One reviewer selected studies for inclusion. Where there was doubt, a second reviewer was consulted.