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Lateral Epicondylitis: Treatment Preferences from the Potential Patient Perspective.

BACKGROUND: Knowing the questions and concerns that patients have regarding treatment options for lateral epicondylitis may allow for shared-decision making and potentially superior patient outcomes and satisfaction. In the present study, we aimed to further delineate patient preferences with treatment of lateral epicondylitis.

METHODS: An online, survey-based, descriptive study was conducted through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Survey participants were presented with a clinical scenario regarding lateral epicondylitis and asked four questions regarding treatment preferences for nonoperative treatment, whether they would consider platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, and whether they would consider surgical intervention for recalcitrant symptoms. A Likert scale was used for responses. McNemar chi-square test was used for paired nominal data for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 238 survey responses were included. A majority (63%) of respondents elected to proceed with formal physical therapy. When given additional information regarding corticosteroid injections, 50.8% of respondents reported preferring physical therapy. There were no differences between groups for questions 1 and 2 ( P = 0.90). Of the respondents, 75.2% were "likely" or "extremely likely" to consider PRP injection. When asked about surgical intervention, 74.8% of respondents were "likely" or "extremely likely" to proceed with continued symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: It is important to include patient preferences in treatment discussions of lateral epicondylitis. Survey respondents preferred formal physical therapy for initial treatment. A surprising majority of respondents were likely to consider a PRP injection. With prolonged symptoms, respondents were interested in discussions of surgical intervention and thus, it should continue to be offered to patients with recalcitrant symptoms.

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