The elbow joint is comprised of three bones: the humerus, radius and ulna. The bones and joint are stabilized by adjoining muscles, tendons and ligaments. There are a number of conditions which can affect elbow mobility, including trauma, overuse, pathology, and arthritis. Common elbow conditions include:
Lateral epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
Overuse and fatigue to the exterior carpi radialis brevis muscle (located in the forearm) can result in small tears inside the tendon, causing swelling and pain.
Olecranon (Elbow) Fractures
A break in the outright tip of the elbow, located at the end of the ulna bone, is known as an olecranon fracture. Direct trauma to this section of the elbow can cause the bone to shatter or break. While mild breaks can potentially heal independently, surgery is often necessary.
The elbow is a hinge joint, with the ulna, radius and humerus bones conjoined at the tip. Partial dislocation of the elbow is known as subluxation. Complete dislocation is the complete detachment of the bone from the joint. While extremely uncommon, elbow dislocations may occur as a result of trauma. Immobilization and physical therapy are commonly used to treat elbow dislocations, however in severe cases involving bone damage, surgery may be necessary. Nerves and tendons must also be observed in order to restore complete functionality to the arm.
Pain or loss of motion in the elbow joint are potentially symptoms of osteoarthritis. This disease generally presents in the hips and knees, however may occur in the elbow as well. It often develops in mature adults as a result of chronic wear and tear. This condition is identified using x-ray imaging. Surgical alternatives include physical therapy, steroid injections, oral medications, and activity modification. In extreme cases, surgery may be beneficial. This procedure can be done arthroscopically in order to increase the speed of recovery and minimize complications.
Other elbow pathologies including bursitis, radial head fractures, and biceps tendon tears and can be treated using surgical and non-surgical methods.
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