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Elbow Injuries: Diagnosis & Treatment

At The Orthopedic Research Clinic of Alaska, our interdisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, physician assistants, and medical assistants lead the field in quality and comprehensive care of a wide variety of musculoskeletal injuries. Many of our patients see us complaining of acute or chronic elbow pain that is disruptive to their daily lives.

Common Causes Of Elbow Injuries

Your elbow is actually a fairly stable joint and critical for many functions in your day to day life, including eating, dressing, and driving. But like any part of the body, your elbow is susceptible to injury and often requires professional medical care to heal.

Elbow injuries may occur during traumatic events, such as slips, trips, and falls, or may progress more slowly and insidiously over time. The patients we see at ORCA who are struggling with elbow pain and dysfunction often report:

  1. A slip on the ice

  2. A fall off a bicycle

  3. A fall or collision during a sporting event

  4. Overuse and/or repetitive motion injury (especially common among fishermen, typists, or anyone with a physically demanding job)

  5. A car, boating, or ATV accident

Types Of Elbow Injuries

The type, severity, and duration of an elbow injury will vary from person to person. Correct and early diagnosis is key for guiding treatment and improving outcomes. The most common elbow injuries we evaluate and treat at ORCA include:

  1. Dislocation (90% of these occur when the ulna and radius dislocate in the posterior direction)

  2. Medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), or inflammation of muscles and tissues on the inside of the elbow

  3. Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), or inflammation of muscles and tissues on the outside of the elbow

  4. Arthritis (joint inflammation and stiffness)

  5. Bursitis (inflammation of a fluid-filled sac that normally acts as a cushion between a bone and tendon or bone and muscle)

  6. Bone fracture

  7. Bicep tendon tear

  8. Ulnar nerve entrapment (cubital tunnel syndrome)

How Our Anchorage Orthopedic Team Can Help Manage Your Elbow Injury

In most cases, our team recommends that anyone struggling with elbow pain, stiffness, swelling, and dysfunction look to conservative treatment options first. This may include medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and nutritional counseling.

Sometimes, however, conservative treatments are ineffective or not appropriate (especially in more severe cases such as a bicep tendon rupture, fracture, or dislocation). If surgical intervention is indicated, our team can help. We offer several surgical techniques for the treatment of elbow pain, including:

  1. Arthroscopy

  2. Muscle/tendon repair

  3. Ligament reconstruction

Has Your Elbow Been Bothering You? Our Anchorage Orthopedic Team Can Help

Hurting your funny bone really isn’t all that funny! At the Orthopedic Research Clinic of Alaska, our Anchorage orthopedic team can offer you safe and effective treatment that will help you get back to your daily activities as soon as and as pain-free as possible. To learn more about how we can help, call ORCA today at 907.644.6055.


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