A review shows GPs are using corticosteroid injections at the same rate as they did 15 years ago.
BEACH data for 1000 GPs from 2000 to 2015 indicate tennis elbow is a common problem, with a similar number of presentations (242,000 a year) as hip and knee osteoarthritis in primary care.
Tennis elbow was most commonly managed with advice and education (29 per 100 consultations) or a referral to another healthcare provider, usually a physiotherapist (14 per 100 encounters). GPs used physical therapy or rehab in 16 per 100 consultations for tennis elbow.
Local steroid injections were used in nine out of 100 consultations for tennis elbow, and the rate of use did not appear to have diminished in recent years.
“Management … largely follows what is recommended in the literature. That is, with the exception that there does not appear to be abatement of the use of corticosteroid injections in the 15-year census period, during which clinical trial research has not supported their use for tennis elbow,” the researchers noted.
They said the findings were surprising given that evidence indicated steroids provide only short-term relief of tennis elbow and may delay healing and increase recurrence.
This directly relates to one of the most recent statements – CORTICOSTERIOD INJECTIONS WEAKEN THE TENDON AND INCREASE THE RISK OF RUPTURE.
These anti-inflammatory injections have been widely used for short-term pain relief but they suppress the cellular activity of human tenocytes and collagen production. (Pak J. et al, 2017)
Short term pain relief is not worth long term damage.
“While … resolution takes some time to manifest, the ‘wait and see’ approach has been found to be superior to corticosteroid injections over the mid to long-term,” they wrote.
This study also showed patients with tennis elbow tended to have concomitant disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other tendonitis in their body.
If the wait and see approach does not suit you, there is always another natural approach which has proven to be extremely safe, effective as well as cost efficient.
We can provide you with PRP injections, alternatively known as Plasma Injections. We can simply draw some of your blood. We will then separate the plasma from your blood and inject this plasma into the affected tendon.
REF: 1. Vicenzino, B., Britt, H., Pollack, A., Hall, M., Bennell, K. and Hunter, D. (2017). No abatement of steroid injections for tennis elbow in Australian General Practice: A 15-year observational study with random general practitioner sampling. PLOS ONE, 12(7), p.e0181631.
2. Wright, J. (2017). Researchers surprised GPs are still injecting steroids for tennis elbow. [online] Australian Doctor. Available at: https://www.australiandoctor.com.au/news/latest-news/gps-still-prescribing-steroid-injections-for-tenni? [Accessed 25 Jul. 2017].