If you have elbow
pain, a number of disorders could be the culprit. Overuse and sports injuries
cause many elbow conditions. For example, golfers, baseball pitchers, tennis
players, and boxers often have elbow disorders.
Elbow disorders may
involve arm muscles, elbow ligaments, tendons, and bones in the arm. The
treatments for elbow disorders depend on the underlying cause.
affects the inner tendon in the elbow and is commonly called “golfer’s elbow”
and “little leaguer’s elbow.” The repetitive throwing motion used in baseball
or the downward swing of a golf club is a common cause.
epicondylitis can also be the result of repetitive hand motion, such as
swinging a hammer every day at work. This disorder can cause pain along the
inside of the elbow. Wrist movements can especially trigger pain. This
condition usually improves with rest and conventional treatment methods, such
as icing or over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory drugs (ex. ibuprofen).
name for lateral epicondylitis is “tennis elbow.” It affects the tendon on the
outside of the elbow. Playing racquet sports or working in certain professions
that use the same sort of motion can cause this condition. Professionals who
commonly experience lateral epicondylitis include:
such as pain or burning occur along the outside of the elbow. You also may
experience problems with gripping. These symptoms usually improve with rest,
physical therapy, or the use of a brace (tennis elbow strap).
Common names for olecranon bursitis are
“student’s elbow,” “miner’s elbow,” and “draftman’s elbow.” Bursitis
affects bursae, small sacs of fluid that
help protect and lubricate the joints. Olecranon bursitis affects the bursae
protecting the pointy bone of the elbow. It may be caused by a blow to the
elbow, leaning on the elbow for a prolonged period of time, infection, or
medical conditions like arthritis.
include swelling, pain, and difficulty moving the elbow. Redness and warmth may
occur in the case of an infection. Medication and wearing elbow pads treat this
condition. Surgery may be necessary in severe and chronic cases.
is a condition that affects the cartilage, a type of connective tissue found in
joints. Osteoarthritis causes this tissue to wear down and become damaged. An
elbow injury or wear and tear on the joints may cause osteoarthritis.
- difficulty bending the elbow
- a locking sensation in the elbow
- a grating sound with movement
and physical therapy usually treat osteoarthritis. Surgery, including joint
replacement, is an option in more severe cases.
Dislocation or Fracture of the Elbow
to the elbow, such as a fall on an outstretched arm or elbow, can cause
dislocation or a fracture. Dislocation occurs when a bone moves from its usual
position, and a fracture happens when a bone cracks or breaks.
- visual changes to the elbow, such as swelling and
- inability to move the joint
A doctor can move the dislocated bone back into
place. They’ll place the dislocated or fractured elbow in a splint or cast, and
give you medication for pain and swelling. Physical therapy will help restore
the range of motion after the splint or cast is removed.
Ligament Strains and Sprains
problems can occur in any of the ligaments located in the elbow joint. Ligament
sprains and strains can occur due to trauma or as a result of repeated stress.
The ligament may be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. Sometimes you’ll
hear a popping noise upon injury.
- joint instability
- problems with range of motion
may include rest, pain relief methods like icing, bracing, and physical
called Panner’s disease, this condition occurs when small pieces of cartilage
and bone become dislodged in the elbow joint. It’s often the result of a sports
injury to the elbow and occurs most often in young men.
tenderness on the outside of the elbow, trouble extending the arm, and a
feeling that the joint is locking could indicate this condition. You can treat
this injury by immobilizing the elbow joint and going to physical therapy.
doctor can diagnose elbow disorders through a number of methods, including:
- physical examination and history
- computerized tomography (CT) scan
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- electromyography (EMG)
- biopsy of bursa fluid
varies, depending on the elbow disorder and symptoms you experience. Most elbow
disorders require conservative treatment. Surgery is a last resort if your symptoms
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- physical therapy
- bracing or immobilization
- steroid injections
- elbow padding
- surgical treatments
disorders are the result of overuse and injury. You can prevent them by:
- correcting improper sports techniques
- using a proper-sized grip on sports
- using proper tension on racquets
- warming up and stretching properly
- using elbow padding
important to take breaks from repetitive tasks and practice exercises that can
help strengthen the muscles around your elbow joint. Talk to your doctor for
advice and recommendations.