Common Problems of the Elbow

Lateral and medial elbow tendinopathy

Lateral and medial elbow tendinopathy are commonly referred to as “tennis elbow” and “golfer’s elbow” although most patients who experience these problems may not necessarily play either sport.  Both lateral and medial elbow tendinopathy are attritional degeneration of the forearm muscle tendon attachment along the lateral and medial side of the elbow.   Patients typically express focal pain around the elbow with lifting, grabbing, and pushing activities.  Symptoms are generally worse with the elbow extended.

Distal biceps or triceps tendon ruptures

Injuries to the distal biceps or triceps tendons usually affect active patients following an unanticipated trauma to the arm or elbow.  Patients may appreciate an abrupt onset of pain, swelling, and bruising.  Many patients may notice weakness with attempted lifting or pushing objects.  Depending on the patient’s expectations or activity demands, surgical repair may be warranted.  

Elbow fractures

The elbow joint is formed from the articulation of the bones.  It is a rather delicate but constrained joint controlled in movement by numerous traversing muscles. Fractures of the elbow often occur after a fall, motorized vehicle accident, or incidental blunt contact.  Patients usually noticed an abrupt onset of pain, swelling, and bruising following trauma. Treatment of these fractures are tailored to the location and severity of the injury and may involve casting, bracing, therapy, and/ or surgery.