Lateral epicondylitis and beyond: imaging of lateral elbow pain with clinical-radiologic correlation
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The diagnosis of lateral epicondylitis is often straightforward and can be made on the basis of clinical findings. However, radiological assessment is valuable where the clinical picture is less clear or where symptoms are refractory to treatment. Demographics, aspects of clinical history, or certain physical signs may suggest an alternate diagnosis. Knowledge of the typical clinical presentation and imaging findings of lateral epicondylitis, in addition to other potential causes of lateral elbow pain, is necessary. These include entrapment of the posterior interosseous and lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerves, posterolateral rotatory instability, posterolateral plica syndrome, Panner's disease, osteochondritis dissecans of the capitellum, radiocapitellar overload syndrome, occult fractures and chondral-osseous impaction injuries, and radiocapitellar arthritis. Knowledge of these potential masquerades of lateral epicondylitis and their characteristic clinical and imaging features is essential for accurate diagnosis. The goal of this review is to provide an approach to the imaging of lateral elbow pain, discussing the relevant anatomy, various causes, and discriminating factors, which will allow for an accurate diagnosis.
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