A common tennis elbow treatment has been challenged by a new study from the University of Queensland. Researchers at UQ found that treating patients with physical therapy and a corticosteroid injection didn’t reduce recurrence or have a long-term effect on complete recovery, pain or quality of life.
Professor Bill Vicenzino from the UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences said recent high-quality trials revealed steroid injections resulted in initial short-term benefits, followed by the high chance (more than 70 per cent) of recurrence of injury after two months, as well as protracted delayed healing.
“The recurrences usually appear as patients feel a lot better after the injection. Despite being advised to gradually resume activities, they might do too much too soon,” Professor Vicenzino said. “The common remedy is to undertake physiotherapy after the injection to moderate the return to full activity through graduated exercise.”
“We found the steroid injection produced higher recurrence rates than the placebo injection, indicating that the actual steroid medication was the likely reason for the higher recurrence rates.”
Professor Vicenzino said patients having steroid injections should be warned of the potential for recurrence of pain some three to 12 months after the injection, and of poorer longer-term outcomes. He suggested that physiotherapy should first be tried in the absence of any steroid injection and then, if not fully resolved, further consideration of other management strategies be undertaken. He added that physiotherapy alone provides short-term benefits, as well as the lowest recurrence rates and 100 per cent recovery or significant improvement 12 months after injury.
Physiotherapy often involves promotion of motor development and coordination, physical methods to control pain, therapeutic exercise for impaired muscle systems, assisting in the physical management of the cardio-respiratory system, or improving balance and motor control for better performance and function. Physiotherapists treat the reactions and responses of the body to injury, disease or abnormalities in development. They are also key health professionals in the prevention of injury.
The Master of Physiotherapy Studies at UQ is a graduate-entry two-year program designed for those students who have a bachelor’s degree and wish to gain qualifications to register as a physiotherapist.
- completed an undergraduate degree (preferably in the fields of human kinetics/kinesiology or physical or biological sciences);
- have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 4.0 on a 7-point scale in your university studies; and
- completed the Master of Physiotherapy Studies prerequisite subjects as follows:
- one full year, or two semesters, of human anatomy (including systems and musculoskeletal anatomy); and
- one full year, or two semesters, of human physiology (including systems and integrative physiology); and
- one semester of psychology; and
- one semester of statistics.
Past successful OzTREKK applicants achieved cumulative GPAs in their four-year undergraduate studies of approximately 78% to 82%.
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