Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

Steroid Shots May Not Ace Tennis Elbow

Steroid Shots May Provide Short-Term Help, but Not Best in the Long Run
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 29, 2006 -- Australian researchers may have figured out how to ace tennis elbow, the joint pain caused by overusing the arms and forearms.

Anyone can get tennis elbow, even if they've never picked up a tennis racket.

But tennis champ or not, anyone with this elbow ache wants to bench the pain as quickly and permanently as possible.

For immediate relief, steroid shots work best. But physical therapy or just waiting for the injury to heal trumps shots in the long run, according to the Australian researchers, including Leanne Bisset, a graduate student at the University of Queensland's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

The study appears in BMJ's Online First edition. BMJ was formerly called the British Medical Journal.

Trumping Tennis Elbow

Bisset's team studied 198 adults who had had untreated tennis elbow for at least six weeks.

Patients were 18-65 years old (average age: 47) and lived in Brisbane, Australia.

First, the researchers told participants how to adjust their normal activities to avoid worsening their tennis elbow. Then they split participants into three groups.

Patients in one group each got a steroid shot to the joint and were told to gradually resume their normal activities. Some got a second steroid shot two weeks later.

Patients in another group got eight half-hour physical therapy sessions over six weeks. They learned exercises to strengthen their arm and forearm muscles.

Patients in the third group were told to wait for the injury to heal on its own. They were assured that, in time, their injury would mend.

Those in this wait-and-see group were told to be as active as possible, using heat, cold, and braces if needed. They didn't get steroid shots or physical therapy.

Patients in all three groups used pain relievers if needed.

Today on WebMD

Mature woman exercise at home
Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
feet with gout
Quiz yourself.
woman in pain
One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
senior couple walking
Can you keep your RA from progressing?
xray of knees with osteoarthritis
close up of man wearing dress shoes
feet with gout
close up of red shoe in shoebox
two male hands
Woman massaging her neck
5 Lupus Risk Factors