Common elbow conditions including golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, olecranon
bursitis, and cubital tunnel syndrome. These conditions can cause
elbow pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is the most common cause of elbow discomfort. Tennis elbow
is a tendon problem that most often occurs in patients who never play
tennis.Treatment of tennis elbow can be a long frustrating process. Often
attributed to 'overuse,' traditional tennis elbow treatment has focused
on avoiding exercise and activity. A new treatment uses eccentric
strengthening exercises for treatment of tennis elbow pain. Tennis elbow causes pain due to irritation of the extensor tendons of
the elbow. These are the tendons often used when lifting objects.
Learn how to avoid tennis elbow pain by lifting the right way.
Elbow bursitis, also called olecranon bursitis, causes fluid to collect
in a sac that lies behind the elbow, called the olecranon bursa. A bursa
is a slippery, sac-like tissue that normally allows smooth movement
around bony prominences, such as the point behind the elbow. When a
bursa becomes inflamed, the sac fills with fluid. This can cause pain
and a noticeable swelling behind the elbow.
Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is similar to its counterpart, tennis elbow.
The primary differences between these conditions are the location of
the pain and the activity that leads to injury. However, both conditions
are caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, leading to inflammation and pain around the elbow joint. The mechanism of this injury can vary from a single violent action to, more commonly, repetitive stress injury where an action is performed repeatedly and pain gradually develops. No
one is immune from these injuries, but they are most common at the
beginning of the golf season, or when the offending activity is
increased in intensity or duration. Golf is one common cause of these
symptoms, but many other sport- and work-related activities can cause
the same problem. Another common cause of this injury is with weekend
carpenters who use hand tools on occasion.
An olecranon fracture is an injury to the most prominent bone of the elbow. People may call the olecranon the 'funny bone.' The bone is actually the end of the ulna, one of the two forearm bones,
and it is the attachment of the powerful triceps muscle of the arm.
The triceps is the muscle that straightens the elbow, and olecranon
fractures can impair a patient's ability to straighten the elbow joint.
A Monteggia fracture is a variant of an ulna fracture of the forearm. In addition to the fracture of the ulna, these
patients also have a dislocation of the radial head within the elbow
joint. Treatment of a Monteggia fracture is with surgery to repair the ulna fracture.
An elbow dislocation occurs when the upper arm and forearm get separated
from their normal position. The bone of the upper arm (humerus)
normally touching the bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna). When
an elbow dislocation occurs, these bones are separated from their normal
If you want to learn more about your elbow condition, please contact a physical therapist at Campus Physical Therapy Center at
Campus Physical Therapy Center
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Nerve compression syndromes cause symptoms including pain, numbness, and
weakness. Nerves can become pinched for a variety of reasons. Most
people are familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition where the median nerve is pinched in the wrist.
In the case of cubital tunnel syndrome, one of the other nerves of
the upper extremity -- the ulnar nerve -- is pinched as it passes behind
the elbow. This is the same nerve that causes the tingling sensation of
hitting your "funny bone."
Hitting your funny bone is actually a sensation caused by irritating the
ulnar nerve behind the elbow. When struck, this causes a shooting
sensation and tingling in the small and ring fingers. The ulnar nerve
transmits signals to your brain about sensations in these fingers --
that's why the fingers tingle when you hit the nerve in your elbow.
The Radial Tunnel
The symptoms of radial tunnel syndrome closely resemble tennis elbow,
although the cause is different. Radial tunnel syndrome is caused when
the nerve that operates several muscles around the wrist and hand (the
posterior interosseous nerve) is compressed, or pinched. This causes
weakness of the muscles supplied by the nerve and pain over the elbow
where the compression takes place.
Biceps Tendon Rupture
A biceps tendon rupture is an injury that occurs to the biceps tendon
causing the attachment to separate from the bone. A normal biceps
tendon is connected strongly to the bone. When the biceps tendon
ruptures, this tendon is detached. Following a biceps tendon rupture,
the muscle cannot pull on the bone, and certain movements may be
weakened and painful.