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.