We often jump to a familiar diagnosis within seconds of hearing a patient’s history. Unfortunately, sometimes patients have the exception to the rule. To illustrate, imagine a patient who presents with pain over their lateral epicondyle that intensifies with resisted wrist extension. Straightforward?… Maybe, but not all pain near the lateral epicondyle is simply tennis elbow. Radial tunnel syndrome can mimic or coexist with lateral epicondylopathy in up to 10% of patients with lateral elbow pain. Knowing the difference is crucial in choosing the most appropriate treatment- i.e. a counterforce brace is may help lateral epicondylopathy, but will likely exacerbate radial tunnel syndrome!
Differentiating these presentations will afford better clinical outcomes. Here’s a short video to help nail down the source of elbow pain:
Please refer to the ChiroUp condition protocols for Radial Tunnel Syndrome and Lateral Epicondylopathy to learn more about the current “best practice” evaluation and management of these conditions. We would love to hear your thoughts on these diagnoses. Let’s work together to improve our outcomes and secure an even brighter professional future.
About the Author
Dr. Brandon Steele
Dr. Steele began his career at The Central Institute for Human Performance. Dr. Steele has trained with experts including Pavel Kolar, Stuart McGill, Brett Winchester, and Clayton Skaggs. He has been certified in Motion Palpation, DNS, ART, and McKenzie Therapy. Dr. Steele lectures extensively on clinical excellence and evidence-based musculoskeletal management. He currently practices in Swansea, IL and serves on the executive board of the ICS.
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