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Common Elbow Injuries, Symptoms & Treatment

Bursitis of the Elbow | Elbow Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis of the Elbow)
Fractures with Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) | Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow)

Bursitis of the Elbow

When the bursa, a small sac between the bones and skin of the elbow, becomes irritated and inflamed bursitis of the elbow develops. This condition may occur from trauma, prolonged pressure, infection, or a previous medical condition. Symptoms usually include swelling, pain, redness, or a warm sensation in the elbow. Nonsurgical treatment may include removing fluid from the infected area, antibiotics, ice, elevation, or steroid injections. Surgical treatment to remove the bursa may be needed if other forms of treatment do not work.

Elbow Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis of the Elbow)

Elbow degenerative joint disease, often referred to as osteoarthritis of the elbow, is a painful condition that results in the deterioration of cartilage tissues within the elbow joint. Once the cartilage is thinned or lost, the constant grinding of bones against each other causes pain and stiffness around the joint. Other symptoms may include pain and tenderness in the elbow that worsens with activity and is relieved by rest, stiffness after long periods of rest, discomfort in the joint before or during a change in weather, or restricted elbow movement. The main treatment used is arthroscopic elbow debridement, meaning a thin scope is pushed into the joint through a small hole and any loose debris within the elbow is removed.

Fractures with Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF)

When the elbow structure is altered, either by breaking a bone or by tearing ligaments, muscles or tendons, the elbow will not function normally. This usually occurs from a direct blow or from landing on an outstretched arm. The elbow may become very painful and stiff, and can cause a feeling of instability. Other symptoms may include swelling, bruising, numbness of fingers or intense pain. Treatment options usually include open reduction internal fixation surgery. Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) is a method of surgically repairing a fractured bone. Generally, this involves either the use of screws and plates or an intramedullary (IM) rod to stabilize the bone.

Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

Lateral Epicondylitis, also referred to as tennis elbow, is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. Generally, this injury is caused from overuse. Symptoms usually develop gradually and can include pain or burning on the outer part of the elbow or weak grip strength. Treatment options for tennis elbow may be a brace, steroid injections, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, open repair surgery, or arthroscopic surgery.

Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow)

Medial Epicondylitis, also known as Golfer's Elbow, occurs when the wrist flexors are overused resulting in inflammation and pain on the inside of the elbow. Activities that use the flexor muscles in a bending motion or grasping with the hand may increase symptoms. Treatment of golfer's elbow could include discontinuing activities that cause the pain, physical therapy, RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), anti-inflammatory medication, or surgery.