OVERUSE INJURIES OF THE ELBOW
Overuse injuries of the elbow occur from events that require the elbow to move in repetitive motions. The excessive flexion-extension movement causes strain on the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around and supporting the joint. With these ligaments, tendons, and muscles stressed and disrupted, nerve entrapment or subluxation may occur. Overuse injuries of the elbow do not happen abruptly. Overuse injuries of the elbow often occur from athletics or jobs that require one to perform repetitive movements. Repetitive motions including throwing a ball, painting, or assembly work can fatigue the smaller muscles in the wrists and hands cause a painful sprain that can require surgical reconstruction.
CAUSES OF OVERUSE INJURIES OF THE ELBOW
Activities like athletics and occupations typically cause overuse injuries of the elbow. When an individual repeatedly places the elbow into a flexion and extension position, the movement disrupts the natural movement of the joint. After prolonged time of this increased stress on the elbow, an overuse injury may occur. Overuse injuries of the elbow include tissue degeneration, chronic inflammation, tears, and nerve entrapment.
Symptoms of OVERUSE INJURIES OF THE ELBOW
The different types of overuse injuries of the elbow may have different symptoms from one another. Common symptoms of various overuse injuries of the elbow include the following:
- Pain in the elbow region
- Tenderness of the elbow region
- Swelling and heat of the elbow region
- Decreased range of motion
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and/or tingling
WHEN TO SEE A PHYSICIAN FOR A OVERUSE INJURY OF THE ELBOW
Overuse injuries tend to not relieve themselves due to not changing the behavior that caused them. Many patients report that overuse injuries of the elbow often improve and then reoccur when the actions repeat again.
When seeing an orthopedic upper extremities specialist for an overuse injury of the elbow, the physician starts with a physical examination. Once they complete the physical exam, the treating doctor orders diagnostics to confirm an overuse injury and rule out any underlying issues. Diagnostics for overuse use injuries often include X-Rays, CT scans, or MRIs.
Treatment of overuse injuries of the elbow consist of conservative (non-surgical) and surgical treatments. Most overuse injuries of the elbow resolve with conservative treatment includes rest, ice, immobilization, and injections. In more severe cases, overuse injuries of the elbow may require surgical intervention.