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Steroid injection in tennis elbow

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Corticosteroid injection in tennis elbow

  • has very good results in short term use (six weeks) but the benefits do not persist beyond six weeks (1)

  • hydrocortisone acetate mixed with local anaesthetic may be used, and of note long acting steroids should be avoided as there is a risk of skin atrophy

  • long term effectiveness when compared to other conservative methods are uncertain and recurrences are more common with long term use

  • repeating and repeated corticosteroid injections
    • has been reported that repeated injections (average 4.3, range 3 to 6 over 18 months) were associated with poorer outcomes - the suggestion is that steroid injections are more effective in acute and subacute tendonitis (duration <12 weeks) (2)
    • if considering repeating corticosteroid injections then "..injections may be repeated 2-3 times at the same site at 3-6 month intervals, if the previous response was positive" (3)


  • a systematic review of non-surgical treatment for tennis elbow, found a short-term benefit for corticosteroid injection, but no differences between injection, oral NSAID, or placebo at 12 months follow-up (4)


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