In the News
Corticosteroid injections for lateral epicondylalgia (tennis elbow) may do more harm than good, either alone or with physical therapy, finds a study of 165 patients published in the February 6 issue of JAMA. A year after steroid injections, 83% of patients recovered completely or were much improved, compared with 96% given placebo injections. Moreover, tennis elbow recurred in 54% of those injected with steroids, compared with just 12% receiving placebo injections. Patients who had steroid injections plus eight weekly physical therapy sessions didn't show improvement over those receiving injections alone. However, physical therapy “should not be dismissed altogether,” write the authors, because it was associated with short-term relief, the fewest recurrences, the best rate of full recovery at one year, and the lowest rate of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug use.