Warning signs of an elbow injury

Injury, overuse, and age-related wear and tear are responsible for most elbow problems. At the Northwell Health Orthopaedic Institute, our experts provide surgical and nonsurgical treatments for people experiencing athletic-related or traumatic injuries as well as degenerative conditions affecting the elbow.

There are two main types of elbow injuries: acute and overuse. An acute injury may be caused by a direct blow, penetrating injury, or fall or by twisting, jerking, jamming or bending an elbow abnormally. Pain may be sudden and severe. Bruising and swelling may develop soon after the injury. 

Overuse injuries occur when too much stress is placed on a joint or other tissue, often by overdoing an activity or through repetition of an activity.

Elbow injuries can be minor or serious and may include symptoms such as pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, weakness or decreased range of motion. Elbow injuries occur most commonly during:

  • Sports or recreational activities
  • Work-related tasks
  • Work or projects around the home
  • Falls

If you think you may have sustained an injury to your elbow, you should contact a Northwell Health orthopaedic specialist for help in determining the severity of the problem.

Conditions

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 an elbow condition.

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 caused by 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.

At the Northwell Health Orthopaedic Institute, our orthopaedists specialize in the following elbow conditions:

Arthritis of the elbow

Your elbow joint can collect loose debris or cartilage as a result of arthritis or an injury, resulting in pain and a limited range of motion. Arthroscopy surgery removes the debris in a minimally invasive way that is easier on the patient's recovery. Click to learn more.

Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is a painful condition that occurs when there is microscopic tearing of the tendons on the outside of the elbow joint. Click to learn more.

Golfer’s elbow

Golfer’s elbow, known medically as medial epicondylitis, is inflammation of the tendons (tough cords of tissue) that attach your forearm muscles to the inside of the bone at your elbow. Click to learn more.

Thrower's elbow

Baseball pitchers and other "throwing" athletes can get this painful overuse injury. Pitching a baseball, for example, places tremendous force on the elbow. Over time, a bone spur can form in the back of the elbow joint, which can be removed with arthroscopy. Click to learn more.

Elbow fracture

Elbow fractures typically occur in the olecranon, the pointy bone at the tip of the elbow, when the bone breaks or cracks. Elbow fractures can be isolated incidents or part of a more serious condition. Click to learn more.

Elbow dislocation

Elbow dislocation is a condition in which the joint surfaces of the elbow are separated. Dislocations can be complete or partial, and can affect range of motion in the elbow. Click to learn more.

Treatments

UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) reconstruction surgery

UCL reconstruction surgery is a procedure performed to treat a tear in the UCL in the elbow. UCL reconstruction is often referred to as “Tommy John surgery (TJS). Click to learn more.

Elbow arthroscopy surgery

Elbow arthroscopy surgery, also referred to as "scoping the elbow," is a minimally invasive procedure used by orthopaedic surgeons to repair various painful diseases and disorders of the elbow such as arthritis, tennis elbow and thrower’s elbow. Click to learn more.

Shoulder and elbow tendon repair

Shoulder and elbow tendon repair surgeries are procedures that repair one or more torn tendons. They reconnect complete or partial tendon tears, eliminate pain and restore movement, strength and function to the shoulder and elbow. Click to learn more.