Elbow Pain Syndromes

ARTHRITIS PAIN OF THE ELBOW

Osteoarthritis of the joint is the most common form of arthritis that results in elbow joint pain.  Just as important is any type of injury to the upper extremity or the neck.

Signs and Symptoms: 

  • Localized pain
  • Pain is constant and aching in nature
  • Grating or popping sensation with use of the joint
  • Crepitus

Testing: 

  • Plain X-rays
  • Lab Testing
  • MRI (to rule out joint instability)

Diagnosis: 

A targeted history and physical examination combined with appropriate testing should help the clinician identify and properly treat this condition.

Treatment: 

  • Drug Therapy
  • Range of Motion Exercises
  • Physical Therapy
  • Intra-articular Injection
  • Trigger Point Injections
  • Nerve Blocks

What causes Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is caused by either abrupt or subtle tearing of the muscle and tendon area around the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow specifically involves the area where the muscles and tendons of the forearm attach to the outside bony area of the elbow.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain slowly increasing around the outside of the elbow
  • Pain is worse when shaking hands or squeezing objects
  • Pain is made worse by stabilizing or moving the wrist with force

Testing: 

  • Plain X-rays
  • MRI
  • Bone Scan

Diagnosis: 

Tennis elbow is usually diagnosed by the description of pain you provide and certain findings from a physical examination.

Treatment: 

  • Drug Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Injection

What is Golfer’s Elbow? 

Golfer’s elbow is caused by repetitive trauma to the flexor tendons of the forearm.

Signs and Symptoms: 

  • Tenderness and pain made worse by flexing the wrist.
  • Pain caused by lifting or bending the arm or grasping even light objects such as a coffee cup.
  • Difficulty extending the forearm fully (because of inflamed muscles, tendons and ligaments)

Testing: 

  • Plain X-rays
  • Lab Testing
  • Electromyography

Diagnosis: 

A targeted history and physical examination combined with appropriate testing should help the clinician to identify and properly treat this condition.

Treatments: 

  • Drug Therapy
  • Injection for Golfer’s Elbow

Lateral epicondylitis and medial epicondylitis are usually both overuse injuries, Pronator syndrome is a distict entity of median nerve entrapment. Radial nerve injury is also in another. Injuries to the elbow capsule and olecranon area are very common in throwing and racquet sports.

Signs and Symptoms: 

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

Testing:

  • Physical exam
  • X-Ray
  • Other imaging tests

Diagnosis:

A thorough physical exam and comprehensive medical history as well as work history is important, as many skilled laborers or assembly line workers perform the same offending motion at work.

Treatments:

  • Drug Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Immobilize the area with a brace or splint
  • Anesthetic/Corticosteroid Injections
  • In some cases, such as in the case of a torn ligament or ruptured muscle, surgery may be considered.
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