Elbow

Many elbow conditions can be treated through conservative methods, but some may require surgery to effectively relieve pain and restore function to the joint. Your doctor will decide which type of treatment is best for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition.
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About Elbow

The elbow is a complex joint that consists of the upper arm bone (humerus) and one of the lower arm bones (ulna) connected by a hinge, or a joint that only moves in one direction. Although not protected by muscle or fat like most other joints, the elbow is one of the most important joints in the body as it allows the arms to bend and twist.

Some of the most common elbow injuries include:

  • Biceps tendonitis
  • Dislocation
  • Bursitis
  • Biceps tendon rupture
  • Epicondylitis (“Tennis Elbow or “Golfer’s Elbow”)
  • Fractures

What is Elbow Arthroscopy?

An elbow arthroscopy is a procedure used to examine, diagnose, and treat problems inside the elbow joint. Your surgeon will insert a small camera into the elbow joint to capture and display images that will be used to guide the procedure. The methods for elbow arthroscopy are less involved than those required for standard, open surgery, and therefore result in reduced pain and a shorter recovery time period.

You might need Elbow Arthroscopy if…

  • You experience persistent age and/or wear-and-tear-related elbow damage
  • You have a painful condition that is unresponsive to nonsurgical treatment

What is Elbow Tendon Repair?

Tendon repair is a procedure used to treat tendons that suffer tears and/or other forms of damage. Tendon repair surgery can decrease difficulties and pain associated with the movement of joints.

You might need Tendon Repair if…

  • You have severe pain in the affected tendon
  • You experience rapid or immediate bruising
  • You experience marked weakness in the affected tendon
  • You are unable to use the affected tendon
  • You are unable to move the area involved
  • Your affected area is deformed

What is Elbow Fracture Repair?

Because of its delicate nature, the elbow bone is vulnerable to fractures that can cause intense pain, swelling and an inability to move the arm. If a fracture is suspected, your doctor will perform a physical examination and X-ray imaging to confirm the diagnosis. While many fractures can be treated through conservative methods such as immobilization and icing, surgery may be required for more severe cases.

Surgery is usually recommended if the broken elbow interferes with the triceps muscle function, or if the broken part of the bone is visible and the fracture is “open”. The surgery resets the bone fragments into the correct places, removes crushed pieces that cannot be repaired, and allows the surgeon to affix the bones for proper healing.

What is a Total Elbow Replacement?

Elbow replacement is performed to repair severe damage within the elbow joint caused by osteoarthritis, fractures, tumors, tissue tears or other serious conditions. Patients with these conditions often experience pain, stiffness and an inability to use the arm during regular activity.

During the elbow replacement procedure, the damaged bone ends are removed from the joint and replaced with a prosthetic device that is held in place with bone cement and connected with a hinge. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Patients will need to undergo physical therapy after joint replacement in order to restore strength and stability to the joint before returning to physical activity.

What is Tennis Elbow?

You don’t have to play tennis to get Tennis Elbow, a condition caused by arm, forearm, and hand muscle overuse that leads to elbow pain. (Though of course its name reflects its prevalence among some tennis players). Tennis elbow is caused by abrupt or subtle injury of the muscle and tendon near the outside of the elbow. Overuse injury is also known to affect the elbow’s back or posterior areas.

You might have Tennis Elbow if…

  • You have incrementally increasing pain near the outside of the elbow. (Pain may develop acutely, though this is less common)
  • You experience increased pain when shaking hands or squeezing objects
  • Your pain worsens when forcefully stabilizing or moving your wrist. (This might occur when lifting, using tools, opening jars or cans, handling utensils like toothbrushes, knives, and forks, etc.)

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Common among, but not limited to, avid golfers, Golfer’s Elbow is a condition that leads to pain in the tendons of your forearm muscles that are connected to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. This pain may also spread to your forearm and wrist. Anyone who repeatedly uses their wrists or clenches their fingers can develop this condition, but with rest and an appropriate treatment, recovery is often simple and easy.

You might have Golfer’s Elbow if…

  • You have pain and tenderness on the inside of your elbow, which worsens with certain movement
  • You experience stiffness in your elbow, or it hurts to make a fist
  • You feel weakness in your hands or wrists
  • You experience numb or tingling sensations that radiate into one or more fingers — typically the ring and/or little fingers
  • Pain increases when you: swing a golf club or racket; squeeze or pitch a ball; shake hands; turn a doorknob; lift weights; pick up something with your palm down; and/or flex your wrist

What is Biceps Tendon Surgery?

The biceps tendon attaches muscles to the shoulder and also helps bend the elbow and rotate the forearm. Injury to this tendon frequently occurs as a result of age, inactivity or over-activity, and can result in inflammation or a partial or complete tear. Patients with a biceps tendon may experience severe pain, bruising and weakness.

Surgical treatment for a biceps tendon injury depends on the type and severity of the condition. The procedure may include simply shaving away the torn fibers, removing the torn tendon stump and reattaching the remaining tendon, or completely reattaching torn tendons with screws and sutures.

What is Ulnar Nerve Transposition?

Ulnar nerve transposition moves the ulnar nerve to a position where it is not affected by a bony region known as the medial epicondyle.

You might need Ulnar Nerve Transposition if…

  • Your ulnar nerve is compressed against the medial epicondyle
  • You have such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis and cubital tunnel syndrome that create the entrapment of your ulnar nerve
  • You have pain at the site of the medial epicondyle or muscle weakness
  • You experience finger tingling or numbness

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