The effect of corticosteroid, and saline injection on pain perception and function of patients with lateral epicondylitis: A triple-blinded, randomized, controlled trial

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Seyyed Reza Sharifzadeh
Seyed Ehsan Tadrisi
Ehsan Fallah


External epicondylitis, corticosteroid, normal saline


Introduction: Lateral epicondylitis is usually associated with chronic disability and no suitable treatment is available for it. Investigating effective treatment methods for this disease is essential. We compared saline, corticosteroid for lateral epicondylitis in a triple-blinded, randomized, controlled trial.
Materials and methods: Patients with clinically diagnosed lateral epicondylitis of less than 3 months' duration were included in the study. First, demographic information was completed for each patient. Then the patients were asked to rate their pain level based on the VAS scale and the DASH performance questionnaire was also completed for each person. Then, the first group was treated with triamcinolone and the second group was treated with normal saline injection. Patients underwent clinical evaluation before and after one month and after three months of treatment.
Results: Our findings demonstrated that both corticosteroid injection and normal saline treatment were capable of improving the pain and function of the patients in terms of the DASH questionnaire in the short term, but similar to normal saline, symptoms returned in the long term (after 3 months), where the pain score increased between 0.5 and 1 units and the DASH score increased between 5 and 10 units.
Conclusion: Corticosteroid injection was not found to be superior to saline, when both methods were ineffective in terms of long-term effects, while they were more effective in the short term.

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