Many things can make your elbow hurt. A common cause is tendonitis, an inflammation or injury to the tendons that attach muscle to bone. Tendonitis of the elbow can be a sports injury, often from playing tennis or golf. You may also get tendonitis from overuse of the elbow. Other causes of elbow pain include sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, bursitis, and arthritis. Treatment depends on the cause, so it is important to consult a doctor who specializes in upper extremity conditions to get the right diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Besh is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in upper extremity and hand conditions. With his expertise and commitment to quality patient care, you know you are receiving the most comprehensive and advanced care for your condition.
The following are just a few of the common elbow conditions. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your elbow, or have additional concerns, contact our office for an appointment.
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
- Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused when the ulnar nerve in the elbow in compressed. The ulnar nerve, commonly known as the ‘funny bone,’ runs through the cubital tunnel in the elbow which is comprised of bone and tissue. When the tissue is swollen due to overuse or repetitive use, the blood supply can be aggravated which then causes the symptoms for cubital tunnel syndrome. Symptoms for cubital tunnel syndrome include elbow pain and/or stiffness, loss of strength in the hand, pain and tingling in the fingers, and numbness in the fingers. It is important to seek treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome as over time, the nerve damage can become permanent if symptoms go untreated. Treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome includes elbow splinting or padding and anti-inflammatory medication. If those treatments do not work, cortisone injections or minimally invasive surgery may be recommended.
Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis, is a tendonitis of the outside of the elbow unlike golfer’s elbow which affects the inside of the elbow. Tennis elbow is mainly caused by repetitive use during tennis or any other activity that uses the hand or wrist muscles. These muscles share a common tendon which is connected to the portion of the elbow bone known as the lateral epicondyle. Tiny tears happen over time and with age, the body has a more difficult time repairing itself which leads to symptoms of tennis elbow. Symptoms of tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis include pain while bending the wrist, tenderness or pain in the elbow, difficulty picking up heavy objects, and weakness in the hand and wrist. When the pain and/or weakness is interfering with your daily activities, it is time to seek tennis elbow treatment from an Orthopaedic hand specialist such as Dr. Besh. Treatment for tennis elbow includes physical therapy, stretching, rest, and/or anti-inflammatory medication. If the symptoms of tennis elbow persist with the above treatment then cortisone injections and minimally invasive surgery are other options for tennis elbow.
Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)
Medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow, is tendonitis of the inside of the elbow joint. The repetitive overuse of these muscles causes inflammation of the tendons, the connective tissue between the muscle and the bone. While golf is a common cause of medial epicondylitis, it can also be caused by any repetitive motion or sharp sudden movement that involves the elbow. Common symptoms of golfer’s elbow include pain at the inside of the elbow, elbow stiffness, numbness or tingling in fingers, and hand and/or wrist weakness. Treatment of golfer’s elbow can include physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, splinting, and stretching. In some cases, cortisone injections may be suggested when other treatments are not effective. In the case of golfer’s elbow, surgery is rarely an option, but the best way to know for sure is to schedule an exam with a physician who specializes in hand, wrist and elbow conditions.