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Partial Tear of the common extensor tendon at the elbow

Dear Ask The Doctor:
My MRI show a partial tear of the common extnsor tendon with bone marrow edema in the radial head. Is this more then common tennis elboow?


Your MRI is describing a Lateral epicondylitis (so called tennis elbow) which is an overuse injury involving the extensor muscles that insert on the lateral epicondylar region of the distal humerus.It is more properly termed a tendinosis that specifically involves the origin of the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle. Certain repetitive movements of the wrist can cause this condition. It is not limited to tennis players. The treatment includes: Ice the area twice a day for 20 minutes to help to decrease inflammation and relieve pain. Freezing water in a paper cup and tearing away the top rim as the ice melts is an easy way to use ice. Do not put ice directly on the skin. Wrap it in a towel. Rest the sore area to prevent further injury and decrease pain. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil, Motrin, or Aleve may help decrease the pain and help the healing. An elbow strap or splint may help take the pressure off the inflamed tendon. Physical Therapy involves different exercises to increase flexibility and strength. These exercises are usually performed at home.

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