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#SportsMedicineMonday: Elbow Injuries

May 28, 2018 athletic woman with elbow injury

Common Elbow Injuries

The spring and summer weather has everyone outside and back to their favorite outdoor sports, like tennis and golf. As much as we love playing these sports every chance we get, too much can result in common elbow injuries known as tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. Let’s take a closer look at elbow injury causes and treatment options.

Elbow Anatomy

Your elbow is a simple joint made up of three intersecting bones: the humerus (upper arm) as well as the ulna and radius (forearm). Muscles, tendons and ligaments surround the joint and provide mobility and support.

Tennis Elbow Causes

Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, refers to inflammation, soreness or pain on the outside of the upper arm around the elbow. This is often due to a partial tear of the tendon connecting muscle to bone, usually beginning near the fibers of the elbow. Tennis elbow causes include:

• Overuse of forearm muscles in sport

• Repetitive use of forearm muscles in occupation

• Age-related complications

Golfer’s Elbow Causes

Where tennis elbow injuries occur on the outside of the arm, golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, refers to inflammation, soreness or pain on the inside of the arm. Similar to tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow injuries are caused by torn tendons that typically begin near the elbow. Golfer’s elbow causes include:

• Overuse of forearm muscles in sport

• Repetitive use of forearm muscles in occupation

• Age-related complications

Elbow Injury Symptoms

Both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow share similar symptoms. These symptoms often begin as minor and gradually worsen over time. Common elbow injury symptoms include:

• Radiating pain on the outer elbow

• Burning sensation around the elbow

• Difficulty gripping objects or twisting forearm

Elbow Injury Evaluation

To evaluate your elbow injury, Dr. Melander may utilize a physical exam as well as an elbow arthroscopy. Watch the video below to see how an elbow arthroscopy helps Dr. Melander look inside the joint to identify any tearing or weakness.

Elbow Injury Treatment

For both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, Dr. Melander recommends a six-week treatment program that reduces the elbow’s inflammation and restores full mobility. Upon diagnosing the injury, Dr. Melander will first prescribe two to three weeks of rest along with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Next, a two-week ice and compression regimen will reduce pain and soreness. Finally, a light stretching and strengthening routine will increase weight resistance and restore full mobility.

Schedule a Consultation

If you’re suffering from common elbow injuries, sports or occupation-related, our sports medicine experts are here to help. Dr. Melander and his team understand the inconvenience of an injury and are committed to building treatment plans that get you back to full strength as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment today.

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Categories: Elbow, Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Medicine Monday