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Old 12-11-11, 12:22 PM   #1
Yen
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Tennis elbow MRI: Bone marrow edema -- what?!?

Hi everyone, still working on the ol' elbows. Note the 's' at the end... yep, it's now in both elbows since I had to use my left arm to favor my right. Long story...

Anyway I had an MRI of the right elbow (the main problem) in June and finally went back to the doc for the results on Friday. The MRI confirms Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow), so no surprise there.

But there's more! The report also says:
Bone bruise and bone marrow edema is also seen along the lateral aspect of the radial head as well as the lateral epicondyle itself. Mild joint effusion is seen in the elbow joint predominantly along the lateral aspect.
My doctor did not mention these findings during our appointment on Friday, so I didn't know about them until I read the report later at home. He did say I'm a candidate for surgery since I've tried everything he suggested and none of it worked. However, the one thing I didn't try is total rest, and now I have all the time in the world to do that.

QUESTION: Does anyone know what 'bone marrow edema' might suggest? I did not suffer an external trauma to my elbow, so I also don't understand the bone bruise finding.

I know, I know... some of you think that if I had surgery I'd be all healed up by now. Well, maybe... and I had to work so I tried other treatments that would allow me to continue working, and those treatments also promise to work so why not me? Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to give my elbow adequate rest, until now.
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Old 12-11-11, 12:26 PM   #2
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1. I'll try to ask some of my orthopod buds and see what they say.
2. (My answer to any and all ailments is...) Have you considered a recumbent?
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Old 12-11-11, 12:33 PM   #3
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Answer to #1: Thank you so much.

Answer to #2: Even with a recumbent, I'll still need to shift and squeeze the brake levers. It wouldn't alleviate this pain.
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Old 12-11-11, 12:34 PM   #4
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The Livestrong site has a good article on bone marrow edema. This is just a part of the article - "In diseases such as arthritis and sickle cell disease, bone marrow edema correlates with bone pain".

I hope the rest helps get some relief from the problem.


http://www.livestrong.com/article/25...-marrow-edema/
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Old 12-11-11, 01:02 PM   #5
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Thanks Beverly, I searched but didn't find that. It seems I have yet another mystery on my hands (or, in my elbows).
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Old 12-11-11, 06:44 PM   #6
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I wont tell you to have surgery this time! Its so easy to inadvertently use that hand, and flex those tendons that tweak your sore elbow. try one of those store bought wrist braces with the velcro. it'll remind you not to use that hand. for me. even using a mouse would aggravate my elbow. good luck.
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Old 12-12-11, 11:10 AM   #7
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Altamont: I can do some things, carefully, wearing the Band-It elbow brace. Mostly, palms up. If I grip sideways, or palms down, that hurts. I'm learning to do things in a whole new way and having to really think about everything I'm doing --- how I do it, my posture, recruiting other muscles, etc.
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Old 12-12-11, 03:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Yen View Post
Hi everyone, still working on the ol' elbows. Note the 's' at the end... yep, it's now in both elbows since I had to use my left arm to favor my right. Long story...

Anyway I had an MRI of the right elbow (the main problem) in June and finally went back to the doc for the results on Friday. The MRI confirms Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow), so no surprise there.

But there's more! The report also says:
Bone bruise and bone marrow edema is also seen along the lateral aspect of the radial head as well as the lateral epicondyle itself. Mild joint effusion is seen in the elbow joint predominantly along the lateral aspect.
My doctor did not mention these findings during our appointment on Friday, so I didn't know about them until I read the report later at home. He did say I'm a candidate for surgery since I've tried everything he suggested and none of it worked. However, the one thing I didn't try is total rest, and now I have all the time in the world to do that.

QUESTION: Does anyone know what 'bone marrow edema' might suggest? I did not suffer an external trauma to my elbow, so I also don't understand the bone bruise finding.

I know, I know... some of you think that if I had surgery I'd be all healed up by now. Well, maybe... and I had to work so I tried other treatments that would allow me to continue working, and those treatments also promise to work so why not me? Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to give my elbow adequate rest, until now.
I would assume that the doctor read the report, and this stuff means something to the doctor. At this point you have three options
1) Trust that the doctor knows
2) one is to call the doctor and ask him/her to explain it to you. They may bill you for their time.\
3) Go out and get a medical degree then you will know.

You had an MRI in June and your just talking to a doctor about it now. Gee and people here under public health ***** and complain when they need to wait a month to get an MRI.....
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Old 12-12-11, 05:56 PM   #9
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FWIW, my "tennis elbow" -what was keeping me awake at night - has gone away, and even the numbness and tingling at night has almost gone away.

So, it can go away. I used one of those twisty rubber bar things - "fluted/ribbed??" on the outside - about the size of a paper towel tubing after you have used all the paper towels, twisting as the directions indicated- and rest from the exercises I and the PT had surmised had started it going bad.

Theraband flexbar

Good luck.

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Old 12-12-11, 09:39 PM   #10
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Hi Denver: I used the Theraband for a while... it caused more pain. :-( Others have said that hammer curls fixed it for them.... but they cause me more pain. Bicep curls feel good and anything I can do with my palms facing upward; anything gripping with palms inward or down, that hurts.

My current doctor (and others) said that once the correct treatment is applied and adhered to, the pain will one day just be gone.

Wogster: For various reasons I just returned for the report... long story not worth repeating here.
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Old 12-13-11, 04:54 PM   #11
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Hi Denver: I used the Theraband for a while... it caused more pain. :-( Others have said that hammer curls fixed it for them.... but they cause me more pain. Bicep curls feel good and anything I can do with my palms facing upward; anything gripping with palms inward or down, that hurts.

My current doctor (and others) said that once the correct treatment is applied and adhered to, the pain will one day just be gone.

Wogster: For various reasons I just returned for the report... long story not worth repeating here.
Have you tried physiotherapy? Take your MRI report and go see a physiotherapist, they should also know how to read it, and may have some exercises that could help.... Personally I think surgery is the solution of last resort....
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Old 12-14-11, 09:25 PM   #12
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I had physiotherapy earlier this year and it made it worse, so I took some time off from it. I'm seeing a different doctor now (a member of our bike group) who is having me do some gentle exercises with very light weights to strengthen the muscles. I believe his program will work.... with lots of time and rest.
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Old 12-16-11, 03:15 PM   #13
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I can't speak about Bone marrow edema, but earlier this year I did suffer from "mouse elbow and shoulder", brought on from too much computer work. It does make cycling difficult. The pressure from leaning on the hand and the impact felt from the wheel to the handlebars was not comfortable.


I tried physical therapy at my HMO. She gave me the rubber bands to stretch etc. But it didn't make much of an impact.

What did work was acunpuncture and laser light therapy. I had 4-5 laser light therapy sessions and felt improvement within days. Acupuncture helped as well, including my lower back pain.
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Old 12-19-11, 09:57 AM   #14
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I had to learn how to mouse with my left hand, just raising my fingers that little bit made my elbow hurt. and it wasn't easy for the least ambidextrous (sp?) person in the world. pretty bizarre, can paddle a kayak for hours but can't use a mouse.
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Old 12-19-11, 01:05 PM   #15
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Sorry your having continuing trouble with the elbows. Will put you on the prayer list.
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