Tennis elbow - dry needling or corticosteroid injection?


Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis as it also known, is a condition that affects the outside of the elbow. Developing this injury can result from not only racquet sports, but repetitive strain injury, from long periods typing at the computer, to manual work such as painting or using power tools.


Amongst other treatment methods, dry needling and corticosteroid injections are options to help treat the condition. A study by Uygur et al. (2020) looked into how these two interventions reduced pain and improved functional disability. 101 patients with tennis elbow either received dry needling or corticosteroid injection therapy, and were assessed at 3 weeks and 6 months after the start of treatment.


Both treatments proved effective, and dry needling showed a better improvement score in the "Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation". Overall, dry needling was more effective in reducing pain and improving function, and offers little in the way of side-effects when compared to the skin atrophy and whitening that corticosteroids can cause.


If you have tennis elbow and are looking for a positive way out of pain, then speak to an Osteopath at Head 2 Toe Osteopathy about how dry needling could help you.


Uygur, E. et al. (2020). The use of dry needling vs. corticosteroid injection to treat lateral epicondylitis: a prospective, randomised, controlled study. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. 30: 134-139.