Importance of immobilization after intraarticular glucocorticoid treatment for elbow synovitis: A randomized controlled study


  • Tomas Weitoft,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Research and Development, County Council of Gävleborg/Uppsala University, Uppsala, and Gävle Hospital, Gävle, Sweden
    • Section of Rheumatology, Division of Internal Medicine, Gävle Hospital, 801 87 Gävle, Sweden
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    • Dr. Weitoft has received speaking fees (less than $10,000) from Meda AB.

  • Catarina Forsberg

    1. Falu Hospital, Falun, Sweden
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  • identifier: NCT00972530.



To investigate whether better treatment results might be achieved with postinjection rest following intraarticular glucocorticoid treatment for elbow synovitis.


Ninety patients with rheumatoid arthritis and elbow synovitis were treated with 20 mg of intraarticular triamcinolone hexacetonide and randomized to either a 48-hour immobilization in a triangular sling (n = 46) or to normal activity without restrictions (n = 44). The primary end point was relapse of synovitis. In addition, pain, function according to a self-assessment questionnaire (the Patient Rated Elbow Evaluation), and range of movement were followed for 6 months.


Thirteen relapses occurred in the rest group and 8 in the active group (results not significant). The secondary measures showed no statistically significant differences between the groups.


Immobilization procedures do not improve the outcome of intraarticular glucocorticoid therapy for elbow synovitis. In future guidelines for such treatment of the upper extremity, normal activity after the injection should be recommended.