Objective: To investigate the relationship between tendon structural changes determined by static ultrasound images (US) and sensory changes using quantitative sensory testing (QST), and clinical measures in lateral epicondylalgia. Materials and methods: Both elbows of 66 adult participants with a clinical diagnosis of lateral epicondylalgia were investigated. Using a standardised ultrasound image rating scale, common extensor hypoechogenicity, heterogenicity, neovascularity, and bony abnormalities at the enthesis were scored, and tendon thickness (longitudinal and transverse plane) was measured by a trained assessor. Sensory measures of pressure, heat and cold pain thresholds and vibration detection threshold were recorded. Pain and function were assessed using the patientrated tennis elbow (PRTEE), pain-free grip strength, pain visual analog scale (PVAS) and quality of life (EuroQoL EQ -5D). Univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses were used to explore the association between tendon structural, sensory and clinical variables which were adjusted for age, gender and duration of symptoms. Results: A negative correlation was identified between the presence of neovascularity and cold pain threshold (P = 0.015). Multiple regression analyses revealed that a combination of female gender (P = 0.044) and transverse tendon thickness (P = 0.010) were significantly associated with vibration detection threshold in affected elbows, while gender (P = 0.012) and total ultrasound scale score (P = 0.024) were significantly associated with heat pain threshold and vibration detection threshold in unaffected elbows. Heat pain threshold and gender were significantly associated with pain and disability (PRTEE; P < 0.001), and pain-free grip strength (P < 0.001) respectively, in the affected elbows. Conclusion: Generally, structural and sensory measures were weakly correlated. However, neovascularity and transverse tendon thickness may be related to sensory system changes in LE.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)