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Orthopedics. 2011 Nov 9;34(11):e708-12. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20110922-13.

Randomized prospective evaluation of injection techniques for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis.

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Plancher Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Orthopaedic Foundations of Active Lifestyles, Cos Cob, Connecticut, USA.


Lateral epicondylitis is a commonly made diagnosis for general practitioners and orthopedic surgeons. Corticosteroid injection is a mainstay of early treatment. However, conflicting evidence exists to support the use of steroid injection, and no evidence in the literature supports an injection technique. Nineteen patients diagnosed with acute lateral epicondylitis were evaluated to compare the peppered- and single-injection techniques using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score, visual analog score (VAS), and grip strength. For elbows with a single injection, mean grip strength increased from 22.9 to 27.8 (P=.053), mean VAS pain score decreased from 4.8 to 3.6 (P=.604), and mean DASH score decreased from 2.6 to 1.8 points (P=.026). For elbows with peppered injections, mean grip strength increased from 28.7 to 32.8 (P=.336), mean VAS pain scores decreased from 3.7 to 2.3 (P=.386), and mean DASH score decreased from 2.6 to 1.3 (P=.008).No studies have directly compared the peppered-injection technique to the single-injection technique. Our results suggest that patient outcome is improved with the single injection. The biomechanical or chemical reason for the distinction is yet unknown, but we postulate that the peppered technique may actually further damage the already compromised tendon. The theory that the peppered injection stimulates blood flow may be overestimated or false. Histochemical studies of the pathologic tissue must be performed to further delineate the reason for improved outcomes with the single-injection technique.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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