Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) Workup

Updated: Mar 08, 2021
  • Author: Bryant James Walrod, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Studies

Laboratory studies

Laboratory studies are typically not useful in the workup of lateral epicondylitis.

Imaging studies

Imaging studies are rarely needed in the initial workup of lateral elbow pain. Consider plain film radiologic evaluation if the patient's symptoms persist despite adequate treatment or to evaluate for osteophytes, degenerative joint disease, or osteochondritis dissecans (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 ultrasonography is emerging as a useful modality to characterize areas of tendinosis, partial tearing, or calcifications and may assist with treatment options.

Other tests

A local anesthetic block may lead to symptom resolution and confirmation of the diagnosis.