Using steroid injections for tendon problems like tennis elbow could do more harm than good, says a study in The Lancet. It found that injections reduced pain for the first few weeks, but made the condition worse in the long term.
University of Queensland researchers analysed the treatment of tendinopathy in more than 2,600 patients from 41 previous studies. Experts say exercising the affected area is preferable.
In the study, Australian researchers looked at past randomised trials comparing steroid injections into the tendon with placebo, which is equivalent to no treatment at all. When analysing the trials, they assessed the clinical efficacy of the treatments in the short term, intermediate and long term.
They also analysed different areas of tendinopathy, like rotator cuff tendinopathy (shoulder) and jumper's knee.