Lateral epicondylitis is a common source of elbow pain. Though it is often a self-limited condition, refractory lateral epicondylitis can lead to problems with activities of daily living and sometimes requires sick leave from work. Therefore prompt treatment is essential. Histopathologic studies have suggested that lateral epicondylitis is a tendinopathy, associated with apoptosis and autophagy, rather than a tendonitis associated with inflammation. Although corticosteroids have been used for short-term treatment, recent studies have suggested that they are not helpful and may even be harmful and delay healing in the treatment of lateral epicondylitis. Researchers have recently begun to investigate the use of biologics as potential treatment options for lateral epicondylitis. Autologous blood preparations including platelet rich plasma (PRP) and autologous whole blood injections (ABIs) have been proposed in order to deliver growth factors and other nutrients to the diseased tendon. Stem cell therapies have also been suggested as a method of improving tendon healing. This review discusses the current evidence for the use of PRP, ABI, and stem cell therapies for treatment of lateral epicondylitis. We also review the evidence for nonbiologic treatments including corticosteroids, prolotherapy, botulinum toxin A, and nitric oxide.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)