Elbow Conditions Treated at SpecOrtho
The elbow is a complicated hinged joint consisting of three bones: the humerus, ulna, and radius. There is cartilage at the ends of these bones, called articular cartilage, which helps the bones to slide easily against each other. Many conditions of the elbow can be attributed to gradual wear and tear of the joint over time, as well as overuse of the elbow.
Fortunately, individualized treatment is available in Fort Mill, South Carolina from the orthopeadic specialists at SpecOrtho!
Recurring Elbow Pain from Overuse
Overuse is also known as microtrauma. Orthopaedic physicians will help you diagnosis the elbow pain, and develop a treatment plan to get you back in your game.
Little Leaguer’s elbow is overuse of an adolescent’s elbow when the growth plates are still open.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is pain on the outside of the elbow and into the forearm. It is caused from performing the same motions over and over with your arm and wrist. Anyone who repetitively performs this motion can suffer from tennis elbow – not just tennis players!
Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is similar to tennis elbow, but the pain is located on the inside of the elbow, and can spread to the forearm or to the wrist. Anyone who clenches their fingers or overuses their wrist can develop golfer’s elbow. Both tennis and golfer elbows are a form of tendonitis.
Cubital tunnel syndrome, or trapped nerves, is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome where the ulnar nerve becomes squeezed, causing burning and numbness in the forearm and hand, and weakness in the hand.
Stress fractures occur most frequently during contact sports. It is a crack in one of the bones of the elbow caused by overuse. This condition is especially common in baseball pitchers.
Elbow Pain Caused by Injuries
It is important to see an orthopaedic physician soon after an elbow injury, to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Dislocations occur when bones become knocked out of place, which can happen after a fall or other injury. The elbow is the second most frequently dislocated joint, after the shoulder, in adults.
Strains occur when muscles get stretched or torn from too much pressure on the muscles. Lifting heavy objects or overuse in sports can cause strains. Elbow strains may result in tendon tears, biceps tears and tricep tears.
Sprains occur when ligaments are torn or stretched. Athletes may get sprains from throwing and using racquets. The UCL or “Tommy John” ligament is the most common ligament sprain from throwing.
Fractures occur when the stress across the bone is greater than the strength of the bone.
Common Medical Conditions of the Elbow
If your elbow pain is not caused by overuse or an injury, it may be caused by a medical condition. Some of these may be diagnosable by an orthopaedic physician, while others may require the intervention of a medical doctor.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This causes the cartilage to break down and become brittle. As the bones rub together, they can cause painful inflammation and stiffness. Orthopaedic physicians can help with treatment of osteoarthritis.
Osteochondritis Dissecans is a unique condition that occurs mostly in children and adolescents. Part of a bone dies without proper blood flow, leading pieces of the bone and cartilage to potentially break apart and cause significant pain and loss of motion. This disease is more common in the knee, but has been known to attack the elbow in many instances. If it occurs while a child is young, it may heal on its own. Surgery may be required if there is recurring pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint disorder. The immune system attacks healthy parts of our body like the lining of the elbow joint causing painful swelling, bone damage, and sometimes bone deformity. This is typically treated by a rheumatologist.
Gout occurs when uric acid builds up, turns to crystals, and settles in the elbow causing severe pain. It is usually diagnosed and treated by your primary care doctor or a rheumatologist.
Lupus is an auto-immune disease wherein the individual’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy parts of the body, which often includes both organs and joints. It is treated by a rheumatologist.
Lyme disease is carried by ticks and if bitten, humans will become infected. This condition often causes dysfunctions of the nervous system and joints. It is vital to be diagnosed early so treatment can commence before too much damage is done. See your primary care doctor or a rheumatologist immediately if you think you may have Lyme disease (more frequent in northern states).
When to See an Orthopaedic Specialist
Although elbow pain is a common condition, it is always advised for patients to seek professional orthopaedic care when you have an elbow injury or persistent symptoms. Contact SpecOrtho at (803) 548-6464 to see what treatment options may work best for you – and do so immediately if you experience a fever along with your elbow pain.