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Tennis Elbow Research - The Truth Behind the Pain

April 4, 2005 11:52 AM

By Jim Brown, Ph.D., Executive Editor, Sports Performance Journal (athletesperformance.com)

Which is more effective in the treatment of tennis elbow: cortisone injections, physical therapy, or a wait-and-see approach? Researchers at a university in Amsterdam assigned 185 patients to one of three groups corresponding with the three strategies. They measured variables such as pain, disability, and patient satisfaction after 3, 6, 12, 26, and 52 weeks.

After six weeks, those who had received cortisone shots reported more success than the other two groups, but the recurrence of pain and disability was high. Long-term treatment with physical therapy proved to be more effective than injections. At the end of a year, the success rates were 91 percent for physical therapy, 83 percent for the wait-and-see approach, and 69 percent for injections.

The investigators concluded that the treatment of choice might depend on personal factors and available resources. The report appeared in the British medical journal, Lancet.

© 2004 HMS Publishing, Inc.
Jim Brown will be contributing new content to this site on a monthly basis. If you have a question for Dr. Brown please feel free to email him at




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