elbow

Common injuries

such as bicep rupture at the elbow, tennis & golfers elbow, ulnar nerve injuries, and dislocations can be successfully treated at Jaguar. Comprehensive treatment with ice, compression, ultrasound, Graston, and other manual techniques guide the rehab along with strengthening to return to full function and athletics.

Biceps Tendon Rupture at Shoulder/Elbow

The biceps brachii muscle spans the front of the upper arm and has attachments via tendons both above the shoulder and below the elbow. When the arm is bent and an unexpected force is applied, as in catching an object that is heavier than expected, the biceps tendon may tear. Signs and symptoms include pain, weakness, report of a “pop” during the event, swelling, and possibly a “Popeye” or other deformity, in which normal contour of the muscle is lost. In addition to rest, ice, and medications to reduce pain and inflammation, physical therapy is indicated to strengthen shoulder and elbow muscles as well as regain motion. Surgery is necessary for complete tears to re-attach the biceps muscle before physical therapy can begin.

Elbow Fracture

A broken elbow most commonly occurs just above the elbow joint (supracondylar fracture) as a result of a fall on an outstretched hand. Signs and symptoms include pain, swelling, and loss of movement in the joint. Elbow fracture may be complicated by injuries to the nerves and arteries associated with the region of fracture, which may cause numbness and decreased circulation into the forearm and hand. See a doctor immediately to examine the fracture, re-align the bones if necessary, and immobilize it to allow for healing. Physical therapy is indicated after immobilization to help regain strength of surrounding muscles and range of motion of the joint.

Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

Lateral elbow pain is caused by actual degeneration of the muscles and tendons attaching to the lateral epicondyle secondary to repetitive or improper use, especially during gripping activities. Signs and symptoms include pain at the lateral elbow, especially with wrist extension. In addition to rest, ice, and medications to reduce pain, physical therapy is indicated to strengthen elbow muscles and correct dysfunctional movement patterns.

Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)

Known under many different aliases, medial elbow pain is caused by inflammation secondary to repetitive or improper use of the wrist flexor muscles (muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle). Signs and symptoms include pain at the medial elbow, especially with wrist flexion, as well as muscle weakness and swelling at the medial epicondyle. In addition to rest, ice, and medications to reduce pain and inflammation, physical therapy is indicated to strengthen elbow muscles and correct dysfunctional movement patterns.

Ulnar Nerve Injury

The ulnar nerve passes the elbow joint at an area called the “medial epicondyle”. Because it travels very close to the surface of the body, injury to the nerve in this area is common. Repetitive motion at the elbow joint as well as direct trauma to the medial epicondyle may irritate the ulnar nerve. The most common symptom is the sensation described when you hit your “funny bone”; pain, weakness and limited motion may also be present. Physical therapy is indicated to correct dysfunctional movement patterns that may have led to the injury, as well as for pain management. Surgery is usually not indicated.