School of Medicine
Musculoskeletal Diseases | Orthopedics | Sports Medicine | Surgery
BACKGROUND: Medial epicondylitis of the elbow, an overuse injury characterized by angiofibroblastic tendinosis of the common flexor-pronator origin, generally responds to nonoperative treatment. Refractory cases may require surgical debridement and repair. This study discusses physical examination and imaging findings and an updated surgical technique used in patients with recalcitrant medial epicondylitis.
METHODS: The surgical records of 60 patients with refractory medial epicondylitis were reviewed. All received a course of nonoperative care. After 3 to 6 months of failed therapy, imaging was obtained, and surgical intervention was offered when indicated. This open procedure consisted of thorough debridement with repair and restoration of the flexor-pronator origin, using a suture anchor. Accelerated rehabilitation, emphasizing early motion, was used. One-year follow-ups were obtained. The Mayo Elbow Performance Score was calculated preoperatively and postoperatively.
RESULTS: Pronation weakness at 90 degrees was a critical physical examination finding. Preoperative magnetic resonance images demonstrated pathologic partial tearing at the flexor-pronator origin. Ulnar neuritis was addressed in 20%. Postoperatively, the Mayo Elbow Performance Score significantly increased (preoperatively, 58 +/- 7.7; postoperatively, 88 +/- 7.8; P = 5.6E-34), and pain significantly decreased (preoperatively, 2.2 +/- 0.3; postoperatively, 0.6 +/- 0.5; P = 3.8E-33). There was one retear in a patient noncompliant with the postoperative protocol. He responded positively to reoperation.
CONCLUSION: Identification of weakness on pronation is a reliable physical examination finding for determining clinically significant pathologic changes in patients with medial epicondylitis. Debridement with restoration of the flexor-pronator origin is an efficacious procedure. In this large series of patients, surgical repair with aggressive rehabilitation was shown to be reliable and safe in restoring function and relieving pain in recalcitrant cases of medial epicondylitis.
Medial epicondylitis, golfer's elbow, flexor-pronator tear, surgical repair, tendinosis, sports injury
Rights and Permissions
Copyright 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
DOI of Published Version
J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2015 Aug;24(8):1172-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2015.03.017. Link to article on publisher's site
Journal of shoulder and elbow surgery / American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons ... [et al.]
Vinod AV, Ross G. (2015). An effective approach to diagnosis and surgical repair of refractory medial epicondylitis. Open Access Articles. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2015.03.017. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/oapubs/2626
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.