To describe a novel orthopedic test (Polk’s test) which can assist the clinician in differentiating between me- dial and lateral epicondylitis, 2 of the most common causes of elbow pain. This test has not been previously described in the literature.


The testing procedure described in this paper is easy to learn, simple to perform and may provide the clinician with a quick and effective method of differentiating between lateral and medial epicondylitis. The test also helps to elucidate normal activities of daily living that the patient may unknowingly be performing on a repetitive basis that are hindering recovery. The results of this simple test allow the clinician to make immediate lifestyle recommendations to the patient that should improve and hasten the response to subsequent treatment. It may be used in conjunction with other orthopedic testing procedures, as it correlates well with other clinical tests for assessing epicondylitis.


The use of Polk’s Test may help the clinician to diagnostically differentiate between lateral and medial epicondylitis, as well as supply information relative to choosing proper instructions for the patient to follow as part of their treatment program. Further research, performed in an academic setting, should prove helpful in more thoroughly evaluating the merits of this test. In the meantime, clinical experience over the years suggests that the practicing physician should find a great deal of clinical utility in utilizing this simple, yet effective, diagnostic procedure.

J Chiropr Med. 2002 Summer;1(3):117-21. [PMID:19674572]

Author information: Polkinghorn BS. Private Practice of Chiropractic, Santa Monica, CA.

Free PMC Article