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Dry needling in lateral epicondylitis: a prospective controlled study



Lateral epicondylitis (LE), a common disease, especially in middle age, causes decreased productivity and economic losses. The first-line treatment for LE is conservative and consists of topical and oral anti-inflammatory drugs, ice application, and brace use. If the first-line treatment fails, second-line treatment modalities, which are generally invasive, are offered. Second-line therapeutic regimens include saline, corticosteroid, or platelet-rich plasma injections. Dry needling is relatively new. We hypothesized that dry needling would be at least as effective as first-line treatment for LE. We compared the outcomes of first-line treatment and dry needling.


The study allocated 110 patients into groups using online randomization software. After completing the Patient-rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation (PRTEE), patients in group I received dry needling, whereas those in group II received first-line treatment, consisting of ibuprofen 100 mg twice a day and a proximal forearm brace. The patients were evaluated after three weeks and six months.


The study ultimately analyzed 92 patients. Although both treatment methods were effective at three weeks, dry needling was significantly more effective than the first-line treatment at six months.


Because of the low complication rate, dry needling is a safe method, and it might be an effective treatment option for LE.

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The study was carried out in İstanbul Medeniyet University Göztepe Training and Research Hospital Orthopedics and Traumatology Department.


No funding was received for the study.

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Correspondence to Esat UYGUR.

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Each author certifies that he or she has no commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this article.

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Institutional Review Board approval was obtained (from İstanbul Medeniyet University Göztepe Training and Research Hospital No: 2016/0199) for the study.

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UYGUR, E., AKTAŞ, B., ÖZKUT, A. et al. Dry needling in lateral epicondylitis: a prospective controlled study. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) 41, 2321–2325 (2017).

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