The elbow is a combination joint : it has to be a hinge as well as a pivot. The hinge part of the joint acts somewhat like the hinge of a door; the pivot part allows the lower arm to rotate, so that you can throw. The motion of repetitive throwing exerts a great deal of pull on the ligaments and tendons that stabilize the elbow joint. It is little wonder there are so many injuries during baseball season! Excessive pulling on ligaments and tendons can lead to injury, especially in young people, whose bones are still developing.
Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s or Baseball Elbow) is an injury that occurs when a repetitive throwing motion pulls too strongly on elbow tendons and ligaments, straining them over and over again.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is an inflammation of a nerve that passes under the bone on the elbow commonly referred to as the “funny bone.” At this spot, the ulnar nerve lies directly next to the bone and is susceptible to pressure & irritation.
Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) occurs when tendons that attach to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow become stretched and strained, and degeneration develops at the site of the tendon’s attachment. It’s associated with tennis but can be caused by any number of repetitive gripping and grasping activities.
Elbow osteoarthritis - Most patients who are diagnosed with elbow osteoarthritis have a history of injury to the elbow, such as a fracture that involved the surface of the joint, or an elbow dislocation.
Pain and loss of range of motion are the most obvious signs of arthritis, but in later stages, patients might also notice numbness in their ring finger and pinkie finger. Sometimes there is grating or locking. Xrays can be used to diagnose arthritic changes.
Dislocation/ligament injuries Three bones come together to form the elbow joint. An indication of dislocation or ligament injury may be bruising on the inside and outside of the elbow where ligaments may have been torn or stretched.
Though not as common as hip or knee replacement, elbow replacement can have similar excellent results and improvement in quality of life. It is usually recommended when the damage to the joint has become too difficult to manage by other means.
Elbow arthroscopy may be used by your orthopedic surgeon use to look inside your elbow joint. It’s an outpatient surgery that involves making a tiny incision about the size of a buttonhole, and inserting pencil sized instruments.
Fracture literally means ‘broken.’ A bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured. Sometimes this is caused by trauma, or as a result of osteoporosis. Fractures can even occur with overuse, such as an athlete’s stress fracture.