Lateral compartment cartilage changes and lateral elbow pain

Published online: Feb 27 2009

Aysha Rajeev, Joseph Pooley

From Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, United Kingdom


The aim of our study is to document the arthroscopic findings in resistant lateral elbow pain. We have reviewed the findings in a consecutive series of 117 elbow arthroscopies performed on patients with lateral elbow pain resistant to conservative treatment. We found established degenerative changes involving articular cartilage in 68 patients (59%). In 60 of these 68 patients (88%) the degenerative changes were confined to the lateral compartment and contrasted with a normal appearance of the articular cartilage of the medial compartment. Primary lateral compartment arthritis is more common than previously thought, it mostly affects a young population and could easily be misdiagnosed as lateral epicondylitis.