A recent New York Times article looked into the standard cortisone treatments for elbow pain and tennis elbow to explore just how effective they really are compared to placebos, and nothing at all.
As it happens, cortisone may cause more damage over the long term than it helps over the short term. This is because cortisone focuses on inflammation alone, which may not represent the root cause of the problem:
For decades, tennis elbow was thought to be caused by inflammation in the tissues around the joint. Newer science, however, including biopsies of the sore tissues, shows little inflammation, except in the very early stages of the injury. Instead, it is thought to involve degeneration of the tissues: If the joint is used repeatedly and strenuously, the body cannot repair any resulting minor damage before more damage occurs, and the tendons that hold the elbow together begin to fray and buckle.
If nothing else, studies such as this one remind us that we have much to learn about the issues and biology surrounding chronic pain.
If you are suffering from tennis elbow in San Diego and want to speak with an expert orthopedist who understands the limits of injections, you have come to the right place. Please reach out to us here today.
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