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Injuries, Symptoms & Treatments
All elbows? We can help.
You know the feeling; you go to twist your grip and pang! A sharp pain in your elbow. It can happen to anyone at any age or activity level. Elbow pain may be caused by a number of different issues, ranging from overuse to acute injury to a chronic condition. These issues may involve any of the individual parts that make up your elbow joint, including tendons and ligaments, the radius and ulna bones, cartilage, and joint fluid sacs called bursae.
Some common elbow injuries and conditions can be treated with the classics: rest, ice and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. However, if not properly treated, many elbow conditions may become chronic problems. The pain may hang on for several weeks at a time, or fade away and then come back just when you thought it was gone for good.
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Use the convenient search tool to find information on orthpedic conditions and treatments offered by our practice.. his assures that the information you are researching has been confirmed by Dr. Bellapianta as well as The American Academy of Orthpaedic Surgeons.
Diseases/Conditions of the elbow
Conditions of the Elbow
This 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.
Medial 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).
Another 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:
Symptoms 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.
Symptoms 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.
Osteoarthritis 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.
Medication and physical therapy usually treat osteoarthritis. Surgery, including joint replacement, is an option in more severe cases.
Dislocation or Fracture of the Elbow
An injury 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.
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
Ligament 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.
Treatment may include rest, pain relief methods like icing, bracing, and physical therapy.
Also 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.
Pain and 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.
This condition, commonly called tennis elbow, is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the muscles of the forearm to the elbow. The pain is primarily felt at the lateral epicondyle, the bony bump on the outer side of the elbow.
Biceps Tendonitis at the Elbow
This is a problem with a tendon in your elbow. It's called the "distal biceps tendon." It connects the biceps muscle of your upper arm to the radius bone at the elbow.
This condition, commonly called golfer's elbow, is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the muscles of the forearm to the elbow. The pain is primarily felt at the medial epicondyle, the bony bump on the inner side of the elbow.
This is a swelling of a fluid-filled sac in the back of your elbow. This sac is called the "olecranon bursa." You have similar sacs near other large joints throughout your body. They act as cushions between your bones and your soft tissues.
Common Treatments of General Orthopedics
Elbow Bursitis Treatment Options
If your doctor suspects that bursitis is due to an infection, he or she may recommend aspirating (removing the fluid from) the bursa with a needle. This is commonly performed as an office procedure. Fluid removal helps relieve symptoms and gives your doctor a sample that can be looked at in a laboratory to identify if any bacteria are present. This also lets your doctor know if a specific antibiotic is needed to fight the infection.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before the exact type of infection is identified. This is done to prevent the infection from progressing. The antibiotic that your doctor prescribes at this point will treat a number of possible infections.
If the bursitis is not from an infection, there are several management options:
If swelling and pain do not respond to these measures after 3 to 6 weeks, your doctor may recommend removing fluid from the bursa and injecting a corticosteroid medication into the bursa. The steroid medication is an anti-inflammatory drug that is stronger than the medication that can be taken by mouth. In some patients, corticosteroid injections work well to relieve pain and swelling. However, some patients do not have any relief of symptoms with corticosteroid injections.
Surgery for an infected bursa. If the bursa is infected and it does not improve with antibiotics or by removing fluid from the elbow, surgery to remove the entire bursa may be needed. This surgery may be combined with further use of oral or intravenous antibiotics. The bursa usually grows back as a non-inflamed, normally functioning bursa over a period of several months.
Surgery for the noninfected bursa. If elbow bursitis is not a result of infection, surgery may still be recommended if nonsurgical treatments do not work. In this case, surgery to remove the bursa is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. The surgery does not disturb any muscle, ligament, or joint structures.
Recovery. Your doctor will apply a splint to your arm after the procedure to protect your skin. In most cases, casts or prolonged immobilization are not necessary.
Although formal physical therapy after surgery is not usually needed, your doctor will recommend specific exercises to improve your range of motion. These are typically permitted within a few days of the surgery.
Your skin should be well healed within 12 to 16 days after the surgery, and after 3 to 4 weeks, your doctor may allow you to fully use your elbow. Your elbow may need to be padded or protected for several months to prevent reinjury.
Platelet rich plasma therapy can help injured joints and other problems. It uses parts of your own blood to reduce pain and speed up healing.
Aspiration of the Olecranon Bursa
This outpatient procedure relieves pain and swelling in the elbow caused by bursitis, or inflammation of the bursa.
Cubital Tunnel Surgery
This outpatient procedure, removes the medial epicondyle (the bony bump on the inner side of the elbow) to alleviate compression of the ulnar nerve.
Arthroscopic Debridement of the Elbow
During this outpatient procedure, the surgeon examines the inside of the elbow joint with a camera called an arthroscope.
Experience the latest in orthopedic care
We offer the latest in non-invasive treatments including Regenerative Cell and Platelet Rich Injections.
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