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The Efficacy of Prolotherapy for Lateral Epicondylosis: A Pilot Study *

Objectives: To assess whether prolotherapy, an injection-based therapy, improves elbow pain, grip strength, and extension strength in patients with lateral epicondylosis.

Setting: Outpatient Sport Medicine clinic.

Study Design: Double-blind randomized controlled trial.

Participants: Twenty-four adults with at least 6 months of refractory lateral epicondylosis.

Intervention: Prolotherapy participants received injections of a solution made from 1 part 5% sodium morrhuate, 1.5 parts 50% dextrose, 0.5 parts 4% lidocaine, 0.5 parts 0.5% sensorcaine and 3.5 parts normal saline. Controls received injections of 0.9% saline. Three 0.5-mL injections were made at the supracondylar ridge, lateral epicondyle, and annular ligament at baseline and at 4 and 8 weeks.

Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was resting elbow pain (0 to 10 Likert scale). Secondary outcomes were extension and grip strength. Each was performed at baseline and at 8 and 16 weeks. One-year follow-up included pain assessment and effect of pain on activities of daily living.

Results: The groups were similar at baseline. Compared to Controls, Prolotherapy subjects reported improved pain scores (4.5 ± 1.7, 3.6 ± 1.2, and 3.5 ± 1.5 versus 5.1 ± 0.8, 3.3 ± 0.9, and 0.5 ± 0.4 at baseline and at 8 and 16 weeks, respectively). At 16 weeks, these differences were significant compared to baseline scores within and among groups (P < 0.001). Prolotherapy subjects also reported improved extension strength compared to Controls (P < 0.01) and improved grip strength compared to baseline (P < 0.05). Clinical improvement in Prolotherapy group subjects was maintained at 52 weeks. There were no adverse events.

Conclusions: Prolotherapy with dextrose and sodium morrhuate was well tolerated, effectively decreased elbow pain, and improved strength testing in subjects with refractory lateral epicondylosis compared to Control group injections.

* Legal Disclaimer: Chelation and Hyperbaric Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and other treatments and modalities mentioned or referred to in this web site are medical techniques that may or may not be considered “mainstream”. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication or guarantee that you will heal or achieve the same outcome as patients herein.

As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 07-30-2009
Authors: Scarpone, Michael DO; Rabago, David P MD; Zgierska, Aleksandra MD; Arbogast, Gennie ATC; Snell, Edward MD
Source: Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: May 2008 - Volume 18 - Issue 3 - pp 248-254