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Clin J Sport Med. 2001 Oct;11(4):214-22.

Corticosteroid injection in early treatment of lateral epicondylitis.

Author information

1
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Section of Biostatistics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA. newcomer.karen@mayo.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To analyze whether a corticosteroid injection in combination with rehabilitation early in the course of lateral epicondylitis (LE) alters the outcome up to 6 months after injection compared with a control injection and rehabilitation.

DESIGN:

Randomized, controlled, double-blind study.

SETTING:

Sports medicine center in a tertiary care center.

PARTICIPANTS:

Subjects with a diagnosis of LE whose symptoms had been present less than 4 weeks were included. Subjects were recruited by word of mouth and through advertising. The 39 subjects who were recruited were 18 to 65 years old.

INTERVENTIONS:

19 subjects were randomized to receive rehabilitation and a sham injection, and 20 were randomized to receive rehabilitation and a corticosteroid injection. At 4 and 8 weeks, they were reevaluated and their treatment programs were modified, if indicated.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Outcome measurements were performed at baseline, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 6 months, and included a functional pain questionnaire and a visual analogue pain scale. Painless grip strength on the affected side and maximal grip strength bilaterally were measured at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks.

RESULTS:

There were no significant differences in outcome between the two groups with the exception of an improvement in the visual analogue pain scale in the corticosteroid group from 8 weeks to 6 months. Outcome measurements in both groups improved significantly over time; more than 80% of subjects reported improvements from baseline to 6 months for all scales.

CONCLUSION:

A corticosteroid injection does not provide a clinically significant improvement in the outcome of LE, and rehabilitation should be the first line of treatment in patients with a short duration of symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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