Ultrasonographic Characteristics of the Common Extensor Tendon of the Elbow in Asymptomatic Individuals

Thickness, Color Doppler Activity, and Bony Spurs

Thøger Persson Krogh, Ulrich Fredberg, Christian Ammitzbøl, Torkell Ellingsen

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Ultrasonography (US) of the common extensor tendon (CET) of the elbow is often part of the assessment of patients with lateral epicondylitis. This US assessment is currently based on general tendinopathy references and not well-defined US entities.

PURPOSE: To describe CET thickness, color Doppler activity, and bony spurs on US in asymptomatic volunteers and to investigate the influence of sex, age, height, body mass index (BMI), weight, and elbow dominance on the measurements.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS: Tendon thickness, color Doppler activity, and bony spurs of the CET were measured sonographically in 264 adults (50% women) aged 20 to 96 years. Two different tendon-thickness measuring techniques were applied, labeled the "plateau measure" and the "1-cm measure." Color Doppler activity was based on a 0 to 4 rating scale (negative, grades 0 and 1; positive, grades 2-4). A bony spur was defined as a bony outgrowth (≥0.3 mm) arising at the insertional site of the CET.

RESULTS: With both tendon-thickness measuring techniques, the CET in the dominant elbow was thicker than that in the nondominant elbow, and male tendons were thicker than female tendons (all P ≤ .03). In regression analysis, tendon thickness correlated with weight, color Doppler activity, and arm dominance for both measuring techniques in multiple regression analysis. In addition, the plateau measure correlated with height and the presence of bony spurs. No correlations were observed regarding BMI, sex, or age. Positive color Doppler activity was found in 9% of examined elbows, with no difference between the sexes regarding dominant versus nondominant elbows (all P ≥.20). Bony spurs were found to increase with age, from 23% for people in their 20s to 74% in people older than 70 years. Bony spurs were more common in the dominant elbow (P ≤ .01). Women had a higher prevalence of bony spurs than men, but only in the dominant elbow (P = .03).

CONCLUSION: This study presents the US characteristics and normal values of the CET. In 264 asymptomatic participants, the CET was found to be thicker in men and in the dominant elbow. No difference in tendon thickness could be demonstrated with regard to different age groups. Color Doppler activity was found to be positive in nearly 1 of 10 asymptomatic subjects. Bony spurs were a common finding; they increased in prevalence with every decade in age and were considered part of the aging process. Normal variations in CET morphologic characteristics should therefore be considered when implementing US in trials and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2325967117704186
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume5
Issue number5
Number of pages10
ISSN2325-9671
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Elbow
Color
Ultrasonography
Body Mass Index
Regression Analysis
Weights and Measures
Sex Characteristics
Volunteers
Reference Values

Keywords

  • Journal Article

Cite this

@article{3e6b28067a1e454faad8ab90a843f93f,
title = "Ultrasonographic Characteristics of the Common Extensor Tendon of the Elbow in Asymptomatic Individuals: Thickness, Color Doppler Activity, and Bony Spurs",
abstract = "BACKGROUND: Ultrasonography (US) of the common extensor tendon (CET) of the elbow is often part of the assessment of patients with lateral epicondylitis. This US assessment is currently based on general tendinopathy references and not well-defined US entities.PURPOSE: To describe CET thickness, color Doppler activity, and bony spurs on US in asymptomatic volunteers and to investigate the influence of sex, age, height, body mass index (BMI), weight, and elbow dominance on the measurements.STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.METHODS: Tendon thickness, color Doppler activity, and bony spurs of the CET were measured sonographically in 264 adults (50{\%} women) aged 20 to 96 years. Two different tendon-thickness measuring techniques were applied, labeled the {"}plateau measure{"} and the {"}1-cm measure.{"} Color Doppler activity was based on a 0 to 4 rating scale (negative, grades 0 and 1; positive, grades 2-4). A bony spur was defined as a bony outgrowth (≥0.3 mm) arising at the insertional site of the CET.RESULTS: With both tendon-thickness measuring techniques, the CET in the dominant elbow was thicker than that in the nondominant elbow, and male tendons were thicker than female tendons (all P ≤ .03). In regression analysis, tendon thickness correlated with weight, color Doppler activity, and arm dominance for both measuring techniques in multiple regression analysis. In addition, the plateau measure correlated with height and the presence of bony spurs. No correlations were observed regarding BMI, sex, or age. Positive color Doppler activity was found in 9{\%} of examined elbows, with no difference between the sexes regarding dominant versus nondominant elbows (all P ≥.20). Bony spurs were found to increase with age, from 23{\%} for people in their 20s to 74{\%} in people older than 70 years. Bony spurs were more common in the dominant elbow (P ≤ .01). Women had a higher prevalence of bony spurs than men, but only in the dominant elbow (P = .03).CONCLUSION: This study presents the US characteristics and normal values of the CET. In 264 asymptomatic participants, the CET was found to be thicker in men and in the dominant elbow. No difference in tendon thickness could be demonstrated with regard to different age groups. Color Doppler activity was found to be positive in nearly 1 of 10 asymptomatic subjects. Bony spurs were a common finding; they increased in prevalence with every decade in age and were considered part of the aging process. Normal variations in CET morphologic characteristics should therefore be considered when implementing US in trials and clinical practice.",
keywords = "Journal Article",
author = "Krogh, {Th{\o}ger Persson} and Ulrich Fredberg and Christian Ammitzb{\o}l and Torkell Ellingsen",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1177/2325967117704186",
language = "English",
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journal = "Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine",
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Ultrasonographic Characteristics of the Common Extensor Tendon of the Elbow in Asymptomatic Individuals : Thickness, Color Doppler Activity, and Bony Spurs. / Krogh, Thøger Persson; Fredberg, Ulrich; Ammitzbøl, Christian; Ellingsen, Torkell.

In: Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 5, No. 5, 2325967117704186, 2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Ultrasonographic Characteristics of the Common Extensor Tendon of the Elbow in Asymptomatic Individuals

T2 - Thickness, Color Doppler Activity, and Bony Spurs

AU - Krogh, Thøger Persson

AU - Fredberg, Ulrich

AU - Ammitzbøl, Christian

AU - Ellingsen, Torkell

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - BACKGROUND: Ultrasonography (US) of the common extensor tendon (CET) of the elbow is often part of the assessment of patients with lateral epicondylitis. This US assessment is currently based on general tendinopathy references and not well-defined US entities.PURPOSE: To describe CET thickness, color Doppler activity, and bony spurs on US in asymptomatic volunteers and to investigate the influence of sex, age, height, body mass index (BMI), weight, and elbow dominance on the measurements.STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.METHODS: Tendon thickness, color Doppler activity, and bony spurs of the CET were measured sonographically in 264 adults (50% women) aged 20 to 96 years. Two different tendon-thickness measuring techniques were applied, labeled the "plateau measure" and the "1-cm measure." Color Doppler activity was based on a 0 to 4 rating scale (negative, grades 0 and 1; positive, grades 2-4). A bony spur was defined as a bony outgrowth (≥0.3 mm) arising at the insertional site of the CET.RESULTS: With both tendon-thickness measuring techniques, the CET in the dominant elbow was thicker than that in the nondominant elbow, and male tendons were thicker than female tendons (all P ≤ .03). In regression analysis, tendon thickness correlated with weight, color Doppler activity, and arm dominance for both measuring techniques in multiple regression analysis. In addition, the plateau measure correlated with height and the presence of bony spurs. No correlations were observed regarding BMI, sex, or age. Positive color Doppler activity was found in 9% of examined elbows, with no difference between the sexes regarding dominant versus nondominant elbows (all P ≥.20). Bony spurs were found to increase with age, from 23% for people in their 20s to 74% in people older than 70 years. Bony spurs were more common in the dominant elbow (P ≤ .01). Women had a higher prevalence of bony spurs than men, but only in the dominant elbow (P = .03).CONCLUSION: This study presents the US characteristics and normal values of the CET. In 264 asymptomatic participants, the CET was found to be thicker in men and in the dominant elbow. No difference in tendon thickness could be demonstrated with regard to different age groups. Color Doppler activity was found to be positive in nearly 1 of 10 asymptomatic subjects. Bony spurs were a common finding; they increased in prevalence with every decade in age and were considered part of the aging process. Normal variations in CET morphologic characteristics should therefore be considered when implementing US in trials and clinical practice.

AB - BACKGROUND: Ultrasonography (US) of the common extensor tendon (CET) of the elbow is often part of the assessment of patients with lateral epicondylitis. This US assessment is currently based on general tendinopathy references and not well-defined US entities.PURPOSE: To describe CET thickness, color Doppler activity, and bony spurs on US in asymptomatic volunteers and to investigate the influence of sex, age, height, body mass index (BMI), weight, and elbow dominance on the measurements.STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.METHODS: Tendon thickness, color Doppler activity, and bony spurs of the CET were measured sonographically in 264 adults (50% women) aged 20 to 96 years. Two different tendon-thickness measuring techniques were applied, labeled the "plateau measure" and the "1-cm measure." Color Doppler activity was based on a 0 to 4 rating scale (negative, grades 0 and 1; positive, grades 2-4). A bony spur was defined as a bony outgrowth (≥0.3 mm) arising at the insertional site of the CET.RESULTS: With both tendon-thickness measuring techniques, the CET in the dominant elbow was thicker than that in the nondominant elbow, and male tendons were thicker than female tendons (all P ≤ .03). In regression analysis, tendon thickness correlated with weight, color Doppler activity, and arm dominance for both measuring techniques in multiple regression analysis. In addition, the plateau measure correlated with height and the presence of bony spurs. No correlations were observed regarding BMI, sex, or age. Positive color Doppler activity was found in 9% of examined elbows, with no difference between the sexes regarding dominant versus nondominant elbows (all P ≥.20). Bony spurs were found to increase with age, from 23% for people in their 20s to 74% in people older than 70 years. Bony spurs were more common in the dominant elbow (P ≤ .01). Women had a higher prevalence of bony spurs than men, but only in the dominant elbow (P = .03).CONCLUSION: This study presents the US characteristics and normal values of the CET. In 264 asymptomatic participants, the CET was found to be thicker in men and in the dominant elbow. No difference in tendon thickness could be demonstrated with regard to different age groups. Color Doppler activity was found to be positive in nearly 1 of 10 asymptomatic subjects. Bony spurs were a common finding; they increased in prevalence with every decade in age and were considered part of the aging process. Normal variations in CET morphologic characteristics should therefore be considered when implementing US in trials and clinical practice.

KW - Journal Article

U2 - 10.1177/2325967117704186

DO - 10.1177/2325967117704186

M3 - Journal article

VL - 5

JO - Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine

JF - Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine

SN - 2325-9671

IS - 5

M1 - 2325967117704186

ER -