The elbow joints, which connect the three bones of the upper and lower arm, are essential for delivering mobility to the lower arm and hand. To give flexibility and strength, a network of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, cartilage, and bones must cooperate. It can hurt and limit movement when one or more elbow components are harmed or damaged. Advanced elbow care is provided by our orthopedic doctors at NOVA Ortho & Spine at our medical facilities throughout Florida.
Aging, job, hobbies, and sports can all have an effect on the elbow’s structural elements. Pain and inflammation can be brought on by repetitive injuries, strains, sprains, fractures, and many other injuries. Wear and tear also contributes to bone, muscle, and tendon deterioration, and degenerative diseases like arthritis can affect the joint, causing stiffness and lost function. The good news is that orthopedic medicine has advanced significantly and now offers cutting-edge new therapies to fix damaged joints, including the elbow, in order to restore function and arm movement.
Specialist Care for Elbow Conditions
Modern elbow injuries and diseases are treated by our orthopedic surgeons at NOVA Ortho & Spine. In order to pinpoint the precise cause of pain or dysfunction and create a treatment plan that is unique for each patient, we work closely with them. We offer quick and dependable elbow orthopedic therapy for the following conditions by utilizing our cutting-edge diagnostic tools and orthopedic treatment options:
BICEP TENDON TEAR AT THE ELBOW
While lifting or rotating the lower arm, the bicep is essential for strength. The bicep is connected to the shoulder by two tendons, and the elbow’s radius bone is where the distal tendon attaches. The bicep and distal tendon may rip partially or completely if excessive force is applied to them.
It is uncommon to tear a bicep or distal tendon. Instead of being brought on by repetitive motion or deteriorating conditions, it is nearly always triggered by a direct-force injury or strain. When the arm or elbow is pressed into a straight position, the distal tendon is put under the maximum stress. When lifting anything that is overly heavy, the elbow may have to straighten as a result. Bicep tendon tears can be full or partial, however the latter is more typical and results in the distal tendon’s separation from the radius. The bicep tendon cannot heal itself and reattach to the bone once it has been severed. To fully restore the function of the elbow and arm, surgery is necessary.
The arm and elbow can still function even after a full distal tendon tear. Even though there will be discomfort, bruising, and swelling, a person who has torn their distal tendon can still use their arm. It will have restrictions, though. As the tendon tears, there may at first be a “popping” sound or sensation along with excruciating pain. The front of the elbow may swell and bruise. The tendon may retract into the upper arm, causing a prominent bicep bulge and a gap in the front of the elbow. Although the elbow can still move and bend, it could be challenging to turn or bend the lower arm outward (palm up).
The distal tendon must be surgically reattached in order to regain full strength and function. When regaining full function is not necessary nor desired, non-surgical treatment may be utilized.
CUBITAL TUNNEL SYNDROME (ULNAR NERVE ENTRAPMENT)
Nerve pathways from the spinal cord to the lower arm, hand, and fingers run through the elbow joint. The ulnar nerve is one of the main nerves that passes through the elbow. To reach the outer fingers of the hand, it travels through the cubital tunnel on the inside of the elbow. Cubital tunnel syndrome, also known as ulnar nerve entrapment, can result from pressure on the ulnar nerve as it passes through the elbow. At our medical facilities in Florida, our doctors at NOVA Ortho & Spine provide therapy for cubital tunnel syndrome.
The ulnar nerve is shielded by soft tissue as it travels through the movable elbow joint in the cubital tunnel. It is situated just behind the medial epicondyle, sometimes known as the “funny bone,” which forms the bony tip of the elbow. When you strike your funny bone, the ulnar nerve responds to the stimulation by tingling or jolting you with pain. The forearm muscles, as well as the pinky and ring fingers, are supplied with sensation, movement, and strength by the ulnar nerve.
Ulnar Nerve Entrapment Symptoms:
Compression of the cubital tunnel can result in pressure or ulnar nerve entrapment. This can happen for a number of different causes. The cubital tunnel’s soft tissues can get constrained, and the ulnar nerve can become compressed due to injuries, inflammation, dislocations, and other problems. The ulnar nerve might become irritated just by sleeping with your elbow flexed or leaning on it. Cubital tunnel syndrome is the term for the symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment, which include:
- Pinky and ring fingers are numb.
- Pinky and ring finger tingling, as if the fingers were “asleep”
- decreased dexterity or a weakening of the outer fingers
- loss of strength or muscle in the outside hand
Entrapment of the ulnar nerve can harm the hand and nerve permanently. To lessen the risk of long-term harm, you should seek treatment if you experience cubital tunnel syndrome symptoms.
One of the larger joints in the body, the elbow has the potential to develop arthritis. The elbow joint can become inflamed, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility, making it challenging to complete various tasks.
There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis that can hurt or inflame joints. The most prevalent type of arthritis, however, is osteoarthritis, which is brought on by joint damage, wear, and strain. Osteoarthritis can affect the elbow even though it is more common in weight-bearing joints like the hip or knee. Osteoarthritis in the elbow can develop when the cartilage in the joint becomes thin from repetitive motions or becomes damaged by trauma.
Signs and Symptoms
Osteoarthritis and elbow arthritis can cause pain and limit joint movement. Swelling, stiffness, and a restricted range of motion are typical symptoms, often accompanied by discomfort. Frequently, a grating sensation is experienced while moving, or the elbow joint may momentarily lock in place. The joint can no longer move smoothly without the appropriate amount of cartilage as a cushion.
Although there is no known cure for arthritis, there are therapies that can lessen symptoms and slow joint deterioration. The key to decreasing discomfort and enhancing function is reducing inflammation. Treatment options for elbow arthritis range from physical therapy to cortisone injections, depending on the kind and severity of the condition. Surgical intervention could be suggested for arthritis that is more severe.
ELBOW BURSITIS (OLECRANON BONE)
The elbow is one of several joints that has one or more bursa, which are fluid-filled sacs that serve as the joint’s protective covering. These sacs shield the skin and other tissue from injury while allowing tendons and soft tissue to move over the bone. The bursa in the elbow is situated at the bony point on the exterior of the joint. When this bursa is inflamed and painful, it is called an elbow bursitis.
Olecranon Bursitis Causes and Signs and Symptoms
Because it is situated between the skin and the olecranon bone, the elbow bursa is also known as the olecranon bursa. The bursa in the elbow or olecranon becomes inflamed as a result of pressure, trauma, infection, or inflammatory disorders like arthritis. The elbow bursa may get irritated, swelling up and retaining more fluid. Among the symptoms are:
- an elbow bulge on the outside
- The outside of the elbow is flaming or crimson.
- The bursa’s skin feels warm to the touch.
- elbow pain, particularly when bending or putting weight on the elbow
Either quickly or gradually over time, elbow bursitis can develop. Initially, there might not be any obvious lump, but when the amount of fluid inside the bursa rises, a slight bump can be felt. Elbow bursitis may occasionally be relieved by rest, ice, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, and avoiding bursa stimulation. Yet more serious situations can need for medical attention.
The humerus, radius, and ulna, the three major arm bones, come together at the elbow joint. A dislocated elbow injury can occur when one of these bones moves out of the joint’s alignment.
The elbow joint can bend and rotate because it is both a ball joint and a hinge. The humerus (upper arm), radius (inner lower arm), and ulnar (outer lower arm) bones’ ends are joined by ligaments. Elbow dislocations are uncommon and often only happen as a result of severe trauma or impact. A partial or total dislocation of the elbow can occur as a result of falling on an extended arm and jarring one or more elbow bones out of the joint. Elbow dislocations can happen in outdoor activities, falls, car accidents, and any other trauma where the elbow joint is jolted by an impact.
Elbow dislocation symptoms
When one of the elbow bones dislocates partially while still remaining in the joint, it is known as a partial dislocation of the elbow. In most cases, partial elbow dislocations do not result in any bone damage and may even spontaneously realign into the proper position. Although there is corresponding pain, swelling, or bruising, the elbow may not be visibly altered.
There is a clear total elbow dislocation. In addition to being excruciatingly painful, the elbow joint is malformed, and twisting and bruising frequently happen. Complete elbow dislocations can be straightforward, involving only ligament and bone injuries, or complicated, involving both.
Orthopedic care for elbow dislocation typically starts in the emergency room. Physical treatment can be used once partial dislocations have been straightened and stabilized. Surgery may be necessary to realign the parts of the elbow joint and repair broken bones and torn ligaments in complete and complicated elbow dislocations.
ELBOW FRACTURES AND TRAUMA
Arm fractures are frequent. An elbow fracture is regarded as occurring when the breaks are close to the elbow. The elbow is where the ulna, radius, and humerus, the three arm bones, join. The entire elbow joint and arm movement may be affected by an elbow fracture.
The olecranon fracture is a common form of elbow fracture. The “knob” on the end of the elbow is made by the pointed end of the ulna. Due to the scarcity of tissue that covers the olecranon bone, it is prone to fractures. A simple fracture or multiple fractures of the bone may occur as a result of direct impacts to the elbow or landing on an outstretched arm. Olecranon fractures are frequently isolated events that do not involve additional elbow bones being broken. Less severe fractures without displacement may be treated non-operatively, while open and displaced olecranon fractures may necessitate surgery.
Elbow fractures in the distal humerus
The lower end, or distal section, of the upper arm bone, or humerus, joins to the elbow. A distal humerus elbow fracture may result from direct impacts to the arm or elbow; older patients with weaker bones may experience distal humerus fractures from falls or other trauma. The injured bone and elbow joint typically need to be reset and repaired surgically for these kinds of elbow fractures.
Broken Radial Head Elbows
Falls or direct strikes to the elbow or arm can fracture the smaller radius bone in the forearm. Over 20% of elbow injuries are thought to be radial elbow fractures, which are fairly prevalent. Treatment varies on the severity of the injury, and non-surgical options are available for uncomplicated fractures if the bone has been displaced. For elbow fractures involving the radial head, surgery is frequently necessary.
All elbow fractures may result in excruciating agony, bruising, swelling, and elbow disfigurement. At our medical facilities, we can give modern elbow fracture treatment, including surgery.
Elbow ligament tears are a common injury that can cause pain and restricted elbow movement. Baseball and tennis players are among the athletes who frequently get elbow injuries when using a throwing or swinging motion. Nonetheless, a number of events, such as falls and trauma accidents, can result in elbow injuries.
What Is an Internal Elbow Brace?
Ligaments and tendons may be harmed when the elbow is hurt by overuse or trauma. It is possible for the ligaments to be torn to the point where the elbow is no longer stable, which can have an effect on function and strength. In a surgical treatment known as an elbow injury repair with internal bracing, the torn ligament is repaired by stitching it back together and adding an internal brace. The internal elbow brace is comprised of a particular, durable fiber tape that supports the ligament during its healing.
In the past, repairing torn and damaged ligaments was a common procedure for treating elbow injuries. The UCL, also known as the ulnar collateral ligament, is frequently injured in athletes’ elbows. The Tommy John procedure has been successfully utilized to replace the UCL, although it requires more intrusive procedures and has a longer recovery period than a ligament repair utilizing internal bracing.
Elbow internal bracing may be used to treat complicated elbow dislocations, fractures, outdoor injuries, and other incidents that cause injury to the elbow ligaments.
LATERAL ULNAR COLLATERAL LIGAMENT RECONSTRUCTION
Four ligaments work together to form the elbow’s lateral collateral complex, which aids in supporting and stabilizing the joint. The lateral ulnar collateral ligament (LUCL), which joins the humerus and ulna bones and offers posterior support, is one of the ligaments in this complex. If the LUCL is harmed, it could need to be rebuilt. At our medical facilities, our orthopedic specialists at NOVA Ortho & Spine provide lateral ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery.
The elbow’s support on the outside of the joint comes from the lateral ulnar collateral ligament. The elbow lacks stability when the LUCL is ripped or injured. If the LUCL does not fully recover, this may affect the elbow joint’s strength and ability to operate. Complex elbow dislocations or fractures can harm the LUCL. Certain LUCL tears and injuries may not fully recover, despite the fact that many of them can heal without surgical repair or rebuilding. As the elbow is extended, there may still be a feeling of popping or shifting. This frequently results from the LUCL being more flexible than necessary as a result of tearing or stretching during the elbow injury.
ULNAR COLLATERAL LIGAMENT REPAIR/RECONSTRUCTION (TOMMY JOHN SURGERY)
The elbow requires a set of ligaments to support and stabilize the joint, attaching the different bones together. One of the main ligaments is the ulnar collateral ligament, or medial collateral ligament, which connects the humerus and ulna bones on the inside of the elbow. When this ligament is torn, it can impact the strength and stability of the elbow. Our orthopedic surgeons at NOVA Ortho & Spine have extensive experience performing ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction.
Living life to the fullest might be impacted by elbow discomfort and dysfunction. Let the medical staff at NOVA Ortho & Spine assist you in selecting the best course of action to put you on the path to recovery.
For optimal performance, the elbow joint depends on the smooth motion of the bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Little bits of bone or cartilage that are loose in the elbow can irritate and aggravate the soft tissues, causing pain or dysfunction.
Loose Bodies in the Elbow: What Causes Them?
The majority of individuals with bone or cartilage fragments in the elbow are athletes. Tendons or ligaments straining against the elbow bones can cause elbow injuries in young athletes as they develop. Stress or excessive throwing can cause small fragments of bone or cartilage to detach from the bones or growth plates. Outdoor activities, sports injuries and other impact injuries, elbow dislocations or fractures can result in loose bodies. Degenerative conditions like arthritis might be the cause of loose bodies in older persons.
Elbow Loose Fragments: Signs and Symptoms
The elbow’s bone or cartilage fragments may make it difficult to move. These irritate the soft tissues when the elbow bends or straightens, similar to stones or sand. The following are signs of loose bodies in the elbow:
- elbow catching or locking when straightening or bending it
- Pain when moving the elbow
While pain or anti-inflammatory drugs can help with symptoms, removing the pieces is the best course of action. For pain alleviation, arthroscopy might be utilized to remove tiny pieces of bone or cartilage irritating the elbow.