A review of modern management of lateral epicondylitis

Phys Sportsmed. 2012 May;40(2):34-40. doi: 10.3810/psm.2012.05.1963.


Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, is the most common cause of elbow pain. This degenerative condition can manifest as an acute process lasting < 3 months or a chronic process often refractory to treatment. Symptom resolution occurs in 70% to 80% of patients within the first year. A "watch-and-wait" approach can be an appropriate treatment option, although physical therapy has been shown to be an effective first-line therapy. Corticosteroids, while providing relief of pain in the acute setting, may be detrimental to recovery in the long term. Platelet-rich plasma injections, although recently well publicized, have not been proven by well-controlled clinical trials to be effective therapy. For patients with symptoms refractory to conservative management, surgical intervention has shown to be a successful treatment modality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Algorithms
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • High-Energy Shock Waves
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular
  • Medical History Taking
  • Orthopedic Procedures
  • Physical Examination
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma
  • Tennis Elbow / physiopathology
  • Tennis Elbow / therapy*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones