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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Common extensor origin release in recalcitrant lateral epicondylitis - role justified?

Faizal Rayan1*, Vittal SR Rao2, Sanjay Purushothamdas3, Cibu Mukundan4 and Syed O Shafqat5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Trauma & Orthopaedics, University College Hospital, London UK

2 Department of Surgery, Scunthorpe General Hospital, Scunthorpe, UK

3 Nuffield Orthopaedic Spine centre, Oxford, UK

4 Department of Trauma & Orthopaedics, Scarborousgh Hospital, Scarborough, UK

5 Department of Trauma & Orthopaedics, Scunthorpe General Hospital, Scunthorpe, UK

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Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2010, 5:31  doi:10.1186/1749-799X-5-31

Published: 10 May 2010


The aim of our study was to analyse the efficacy of operative management in recalcitrant lateral epicondylitis of elbow. Forty patients included in this study were referred by general practitioners with a diagnosis of tennis elbow to the orthopaedic department at a district general hospital over a five year period. All had two or more steroid injections at the tender spot, without permanent relief of pain. All subsequently underwent simple fasciotomy of the extensor origin. Of forty patients thirty five had improvement in pain and function, two had persistent symptoms and three did not perceive any improvement. Twenty five had excellent, ten had well, two had fair and three had poor outcomes (recurrent problem; pain at rest and night). Two patients underwent revision surgery. Majority of the patients had improvement in pain and function following operative treatment. In this study, an extensor fasciotomy was demonstrated to be an effective treatment for refractory chronic lateral epicondylitis; however, further studies are warranted.