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Elbow Pain

What is elbow pain?

Elbow pain is stiffness, discomfort, or aching that affects one or both elbows –– the joints where your upper arm bone and forearm bones meet. Anyone can experience elbow pain, but it’s most common in athletes and people who use hand tools.

Most types of elbow pain improve with rest, ice, and activity modification. If the pain continues, worsens, or interferes with your regular routine, contact Orthopaedic Associates of New Orleans immediately.

The elbow is a complicated hinge joint made of the humerus, radius, and ulna. In addition to flexion and extension, the elbow also allows rotation of the forearm. Because of the complexity of the elbow, injuries can impair both the range of motion and the function of the elbow.  Our physicians will promptly examine any elbow injury in order to preserve the function of the joint and provide a comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause of your elbow or arm symptoms. You can expect a thorough evaluation, including a complete history and upper extremity physical examination. If you have X-rays or other diagnostic images, you should bring them with you. If you do not, your doctor may recommend further imaging studies. Your evaluation will include:

What causes elbow pain?

The Orthopaedic Associates of New Orleans team treats elbow pain caused by various things, including:

  • Medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow)
  • Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Olecranon bursitis (inflamed bursa sacs in the elbow)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Elbow dislocation
  • Ligament strains and sprains

Traumatic injuries, like fractures, may cause elbow pain.

Our first line of treatment typically includes any combination of activity modification, rest, splinting, physical therapy and/or medication to control pain. However, some elbow conditions may benefit from surgical treatment.

Should I see a doctor about elbow pain?

Make an appointment at Orthopaedic Associates of New Orleans if you have elbow pain that occurs alongside swelling, bruising, or difficulty moving the joint. That’s particularly true if you struggle with regular activities, like bathing, getting dressed, or brushing your teeth.

How is elbow pain diagnosed?

Your Orthopaedic Associates of New Orleans provider reviews your medical records and asks about your symptoms, including where the pain occurs, if it’s worse during certain activities, and what it feels like.

Next, they examine your elbow, looking for redness, swelling, or bruising. Your provider gently presses on your elbow to pinpoint sensitive areas and moves your joint side to side and back and forth. They then order X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to get a closer look at your elbow joint and the surrounding tissues.

How is elbow pain treated?

Treatment of elbow pain depends on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. Usually, the Orthopaedic Associates of New Orleans team recommends conservative measures, including:

  • Ice Rest
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Braces or immobilization
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Elbow padding

Surgery may be an option if your symptoms continue or worsen even after these treatments. The Orthopaedic Associates of New Orleans team offers both minimally invasive and traditional open elbow surgery.

Is there any way to prevent elbow pain?

You can reduce your risk of elbow pain by taking good care of your elbow joints. The Orthopaedic Associates of New Orleans team recommends warming up and stretching before exercise and regularly taking breaks if you use hand tools at work.

Call Orthopaedic Associates of New Orleans at (504) 899-6391 to receive treatment for elbow pain today.