Autologous blood versus corticosteroid local injection in the short-term treatment of lateral elbow tendinopathy: a randomized clinical trial of efficacy

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Aug;89(8):660-7. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3181ddcb31.


Objective: To compare local corticosteroid with autologous blood injections for the short-term treatment of lateral elbow tendinopathy.

Design: A single blind, randomized clinical trial was performed in an outpatient clinic at a university hospital. Sixty patients aged 27-64 yrs with a new episode of tennis elbow were recruited. Thirty patients were randomized to methylprednisolone and 30 to autologous blood group over 1 yr. Severity of pain within last 24 hrs; limb function; pain and strength in maximum grip; disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand quick questionnaire (Quick DASH) scores; modified Nirschl scores; and pressure pain threshold were evaluated before injection and at 4 and 8 wks after injection. We analyzed our data with the chi and t test.

Results: Within-group analyses showed better results for autologous blood (all P values <0.001 except for grip strength, P = 0.005). In the corticosteroid group, differences in severity of pain (P = 0.008) and grip strength (P = 0.001) were significant. At 4 wks, between-group analyses showed superiority of autologous blood for severity of pain (P = 0.001), pain in grip (P = 0.002), pressure pain threshold (P = 0.031), and Quick DASH questionnaire score (P = 0.004). There were no significant differences in modified Nirschl score, grip strength, and limb function. At 8 wks, autologous blood was more effective in all the outcomes (all P values <0.001).

Conclusions: Autologous blood was more effective in short term than the corticosteroid injection.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Blood Transfusion, Autologous*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tennis Elbow / therapy*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Methylprednisolone