Home Articles Why Get An MRI? Taking a Closer Look at Tennis Elbow

Why Get An MRI? Taking a Closer Look at Tennis Elbow

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Submitted by American Health Imaging

If you play tennis competitively or just for fun, chances are that at some point you will experience some sort of injury. It might be something as simple as muscle soreness or pain, but may be more serious requiring a physician’s care. Most long-time tennis players are all too familiar with the most common of these injuries, lateral epicondylitis — otherwise known as tennis elbow — with more than 50 percent of tennis players experiencing this condition at some point in their playing career.

Technically speaking, tennis elbow is an acute inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow causing pain and tenderness in this area medically known as the lateral epicondyle. The tendons are actually bands of tissue that connect the muscles of your lower arm to the bone, which over time become inflamed from repetitive motion. If not treated properly, this inflammation coupled with continued repetitive motion could cause microscopic tears in the tissue and a more chronic condition.

Many of the less serious cases of tennis elbow can be treated with basic measures such as RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. “[However], when the pain is consistent, interfering with daily activities, or limiting your range of motion, it may be time to seek professional advice,” says Doctor Stephanie Hsu, an orthopedic surgeon with American Health Imaging and longtime ALTA member. “If the symptoms are not responding to conservative treatment, or we are considering surgical management, it would be time to utilize advanced medical imaging such as an MRI or CT,” Hsu adds.

According to the American College of Radiology, one of the accrediting organizations for diagnostic imaging in the United States, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a proven tool for the detection, evaluation, staging and follow-up of disorders of the elbow. When properly performed and interpreted, MRI not only contributes to diagnosis, but also can guide treatment planning and help predict outcomes. Hsu uses MRI imaging to evaluate the quality of the tendon, identify any possible tearing, and determine which tendons are affected. Additionally, she explains, she uses MRI to assess “the elbow overall, to make sure there isn’t anything else going on that may need to be addressed, such as cartilage damage or a loose body in the joint.”

Hsu advises all players to take care of themselves and not wait on a worsening problem. “If pain is persistent or causing you to change your swing or your approach to your game, it’s time to get checked out to prevent further injury and get you back on the court as soon as possible.” Hsu can be reached at Westside Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in East Cobb at 404.405.9245 or at website at westsideorthoatl.com.

Scott Arant, founder and CEO of American Health Imaging, says his company operates 14 sites throughout Atlanta and offers the most advanced diagnostic imaging equipment on the market, allowing AHI to produce the most accurate and detailed radiology images available for its board-certified radiologists to interpret. This cutting edge technology allows AHI to deliver state-of-the-art imaging services for a fraction of the cost charged by area hospitals, Arant says. “In today’s healthcare environment with more and more people having high deductible insurance plans, cost has become a much more prominent decision-making factor,” he notes. “A non-hospital affiliated outpatient imaging center like the one’s American Health Imaging operates is on a non-hospital fee schedule, which saves patients hundreds if not thousands of dollars for quality diagnostic imaging — whether they are insured or a cash-pay patient.”

To learn more about MRIs, advanced diagnostic imaging, and American Health Imaging services and locations, go to americanhealthimaging.com or call 1-855-MRI-CHOICE.