Diagnosis Of Extensor Tendinopathy
Tennis Elbow is fairly easily clinically diagnosed by your physiotherapist. A history of the injury will give clues to the presence of extensor tendinopathy and following some clinical assessment of the elbow and associated areas a provisional diagnosis of extensor tendinopathy of the elbow can be made.
Are Investigations Required For Diagnosing Tennis Elbow?
Generally investigations such as X ray imaging, an ultrasound scan or an MRI are not necessary to diagnose the condition. The injury history and physical examination performed by your physiotherapist are enough to come to the diagnosis.
However the presence or lack of inflammation coupled with the presence (and potential size of) or lack of tendon tears can dictate the best management of an individuals extensor tendinopathy. Meaning that frequently investigations are used when treating tennis elbow. MRI and Ultrasound imaging are the best tests to identify any tendon tears or inflammation and are usually the go to investigations used when treating extensor tendinopathy.
The Cervical Spine And Lateral Elbow Pain
There is a high incidence of lateral elbow pain that is referred to your elbow from your neck (cervical spine). Meaning that there will be a percentage of people who feel they are suffering with tennis elbow who are not actually experiencing tennis elbow but have referred pain mimicking an extensor tendinopathy. Your mid to low cervical spine levels C5-6 are the common joint levels in your neck that will refer to the outside of your elbow as they will pass their pain signals along what is know as the radial nerve which can cause symptoms similar to tennis elbow.
What this means is that is can be important if you are suffering with lateral elbow pain that you suspect to be from tennis elbow to have your neck and upper limb nerve function assessed by your physiotherapist to confirm or exclude any neck or neural involvement in your elbow pain. Failure to recognise this involvement and applying local treatment only to the elbow will most likely lead to inferior results in recovery.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Extensor Tendinopathy A Cause Of Lateral Elbow Pain should consult his or her physiotherapist, sports medicine specialist, orthopedic surgeon or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.