What is the role of imaging studies in the workup of lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)?

Updated: Oct 30, 2018
  • Author: Bryant James Walrod, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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See the list below:

  • Imaging studies are rarely needed in the initial workup of lateral elbow pain.

  • Consider pain film radiologic evaluation if the patient's symptoms persist despite adequate treatment or to evaluate for osteophytes, degenerative joint disease, or OCD

  • Plain films may reveal osteophytes or calcifications along the lateral epicondyle.

  • Consider magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bone scanning, and/or computed tomography (CT) scanning to evaluate for OCD or stress fractures.

  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound is emerging as a useful modality to characterize areas of tendinosis, partial tearing, or calcifications and may assist with treatment options.

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