When it comes to tennis elbow, do steroid injections become less helpful the more of them you have?

The more chronic a patient's pain, the more likely he or she is to need more intensive treatment, such as injections or surgery.

A recent study showed that the benefits of steroid injections decreased with the number of injections patients had. Patients who got relief after one injection avoided elbow surgery 88 percent of the time. But patients who had three injections avoided surgery only 22 percent of the time.

Steroid injections can help reduce pain and swelling when tennis elbow is fairly new. The benefits tend to decrease with time, even when additional injections are given. Patients should talk with their doctor before having more than one injection.