The elbow is the joint where three long bones meet in the middle portion of the arm. The bone of the upper arm (humerus) meets the inner bone of the forearm (ulna) and the outer bone of the forearm (radius) to form a hinge joint. The radius and ulna also meet in the elbow to allow for rotation of the forearm.
Elbow pain usually isn’t serious, but because you use your elbow in so many ways, elbow pain can definitely affect your life. Your elbow is a complex joint that allows you to extend and flex your forearm and rotate your hand and forearm. Most movements are a combination of these actions, and you may sometimes find it difficult to describe what exactly brings on the pain.
Elbow pain can be caused by many problems. A common cause in adults is tendonitis. This is inflammation and injury to the tendons, which are soft tissues that attach muscle to bone. Most elbow pain results from overuse injuries. Many sports, hobbies, and jobs require repetitive hand, wrist, or arm movements. Elbow pain may occasionally be due to arthritis, but in general, your elbow joint is much less prone to wear-and-tear damage than are many other joints.
People who play racquet sports are most likely to injure the tendons on the outside of the elbow. This condition is commonly called tennis elbow. Golfers are more likely to injure the tendons on the inside of the elbow. Other common causes of elbow tendonitis are gardening, playing baseball, using a screwdriver, or overusing your wrist and arm.
Your doctor may diagnose your elbow disorder through a number of methods, often including x-rays, CT scans, EMGs, or MRIs. In some cases, he/she may order a biopsy of the bursa fluid. Treatment varies depending on the elbow disorder and symptoms you experience. Most elbow disorders require conservative treatment. Surgery may be a last resort if your symptoms don’t improve. Your traditional treatment options will typically include ice, rest, NSAIDs (over-the-counter painkillers), bracing or immobilization, steroid injections, elbow padding, and/or several weeks of physical therapy.
Airrosti is different. Our providers are expertly trained to accurately diagnose the source of your pain, in most cases without the need for expensive imaging and diagnostic tests. Most conditions can be fully resolved within three visits (based on patient-reported outcomes).