Botulinum toxin, which irons out facial wrinkles through injections of the drug Botox, can provide relief for "tennis elbow", claims a new study.
But the injection of botulinum toxin needs to be injected properly to avoid potential paralysis, states the research article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
The study, a randomized controlled trial of 48 patients, was performed at Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex, affiliated with the Tehran University of Medical Sciences that serves patients from all over Iran. It was conducted to introduce an easy and effective method for injection of botulinum toxin to be used in routine practice. Instead of a fixed injection site physicians determined the injection site based on each patient's forearm length. All participants' used in the study had undergone previous therapeutic interventions that failed.
It is very important when paralyzing a muscle to know the appropriate injection site. Injection at a fixed distance from anatomic landmarks, as was performed in previous clinical trials of botulinum toxin for the management of lateral epiconylitis (tennis elbow), could result in inadequate paralysis.
"We found that pain at rest and pain during maximum pinch were significantly reduced in patients with lateral epicondylitis [tennis elbow] after botulinum toxin was injected at the site based on precise anatomic measurement of each patient's forearm length," write Dr. Mortazavi, Iman Khomeini Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran, and coauthors. "However, this method caused a decline in maximum strength and resulted in extensor lag."
The authors conclude that precise measurement to guide injection of botulinum toxin can be effective in the management of chronic "tennis elbow". However, it should be used for patients whose job does not require finger extension.