Information for Patients
Elbow Injuries and Disorders
Your elbow joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the elbow joint move. When any of these structures is hurt or diseased, you have elbow problems.
Many things can make your elbow hurt. A common cause is tendinitis, an inflammation or injury to the tendons that attach muscle to bone. Tendinitis of the elbow is a sports injury, often from playing tennis or golf. You may also get tendinitis from overuse of the elbow.
Other causes of elbow pain include sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, bursitis and arthritis. Treatment depends on the cause.
A fracture is a break, usually in a bone. If the broken bone punctures the skin, it is called an open or compound fracture. Fractures commonly happen because of car accidents, falls, or sports injuries. Other causes are low bone density and osteoporosis, which cause weakening of the bones. Overuse can cause stress fractures, which are very small cracks in the bone.
Symptoms of a fracture are
- Intense pain
- Deformity - the limb looks out of place
- Swelling, bruising, or tenderness around the injury
- Numbness and tingling
- Problems moving a limb
You need to get medical care right away for any fracture. An x-ray can tell if your bone is broken. You may need to wear a cast or splint. Sometimes you need surgery to put in plates, pins or screws to keep the bone in place.