Lateral Epicondylitis in General Practice: Course and Prognostic Indicators of Outcome

Nynke Smidt, Martyn Lewis, Danielle Van Der Windt, Elaine Hay, Lex Bouter, and Peter Croft

The purpose of this study was to investigate the course of lateral epicondylitis and identify prognostic indicators associated with short- and longterm outcome of pain intensity.  The results show that Pain scores at 1 month followup were higher in patients with severe pain, a long duration of elbow complaints, and concomitant shoulder pain. At 12 month followup, the only different prognostic indicator for poor outcome was concomitant neck pain, in place of shoulder pain. Patients from higher social classes reported lower pain scores at 12 month followup than patients from lower social classes.   The authors conclude that Lateral epicondylitis seems to be a self-limiting condition in most patients. Long duration of elbow complaints, concomitant neck pain, and severe pain at presentation are associated with poor outcome at 12 months.

J Rheumatol 2006, 33:2053-9

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Also see : The Healing Power of Time: The Case of Lateral Epicondylitis