Common Elbow Injuries and Surgeries
Your elbow joint is a synovial (fluid-filled) hinging joint with various essential functions:
- Moving your hands toward and away from your body
- Pivoting your forearm
- Bending and extending your arm (bending and straightening your elbow)
To make this essential movement occur, your joint is made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments, and fluids. Any one of these elements can be damaged from overuse, leading to an injury.
Kinds of elbow injuries
Elbow injuries often involve either your inner or outer elbow and fall into the following three categories:
- Soft tissue damage ( involving tendons, muscles, and ligaments)
- Bone injuries (including fractures or osteoarthritis)
- Nerve injuries
The most standard elbow injuries seen by our orthopedic surgeon in Lake Mary include the following:
- Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis: An overuse injury impacting the tendons on the outside of your elbow joint. This injury is a kind of tendonitis that involves the muscles and tendons that control the use of your forearm — particularly the extension of your wrists and fingers. Tennis elbow usually reveals itself with weaker-than-normal grip strength and aching soreness or burning outside your elbow.
- Flexor Tendonitis: If you experience pain in the interior of your elbow when throwing, you might have inflamed flexor or pronator tendons. These tendons attach to your upper arm bone on the inner side of your elbow.
- Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury: This inner elbow injury commonly affects throwers. UCL damage ranges from a nominal tear and inflammation to a total ligament rupture. In addition to internal elbow discomfort, you may have a decrease in throwing speed.
- Valgus Extension Overload or VEO: Also familiar in throwers, this injury happens when the bony prominence on your elbow is forced against your humerus (your upper arm bone). This occurs when your arm twists (for instance, when overhand pitching a baseball). Continued rubbing often wears away your cartilage on the elbow's point and stimulates your bone to grow spurs. Bone spurs on your elbow can lead to swelling, discomfort, and reduced range of motion.
Common elbow surgeries
If your discomfort is severe and you're experiencing numbness in your arm or hands, or if your sports execution and range of motion are suffering, you might consider elbow surgery. Scheduling an appointment with an orthopedist is the first measure in deciding whether a surgical alternative may help you. Common elbow surgeries include:
- Open elbow surgery: The most commonly executed tennis elbow restoration surgery, open elbow surgery, is usually completed on an outpatient basis at a surgery center. A surgeon makes an incision over your elbow, removes diseased muscle, and reattachs healthy muscle to your bone.
- Arthroscopic elbow surgery: This minimally intrusive, same-day outpatient technique is favored by some patients. An orthopedic surgeon will make slight incisions and insert a camera scope and tiny instruments into your elbow. The objective of arthroscopy is to extract diseased muscle and reattach your healthy muscle to your bone.
- UCL reconstruction or Tommy John surgery: In the event of an unstable or torn UCL, often, the ligament requires surgical reconstruction with a tissue graft from a patient's tendons instead of being stitched back together. This approach is common today, mainly among college or professional athletes.
These are just some common elbow injuries and surgeries you may encounter. Contact us today if you need an orthopedic surgeon in Lake Mary. We are here to help!