We consult with many patients who visit one of our New Jersey offices due to elbow pain. This common complaint occurs across all age groups, and for various different reasons. Elbow pain could be related to an injury just as much as it could be caused by degeneration in the joint. This area of the body is not quite as structured as others, such as the hips, which are supported in deep sockets. The complexity of the muscles, ligaments, and bones that make up the elbow make it vulnerable to pain.
Some of the common reasons for elbow pain include:
- Tennis elbow. This terminology is really not all that accurate, since a large number of people who complain of the symptoms of tennis elbow have never played the sport! Golfers are just as affected by the pain of this condition. The reason that tennis elbow occurs is because the tendon has suffered degeneration. To resolve the pain that ensues just by lifting a cup of coffee, one may wear a compression sleeve to support the joint.
Some patients respond well to steroid injections. Only rarely is surgery recommended.
- You've struck a nerve! We tend to call it the funny bone, but that area that, if you hit it, produces noticeable pain, is really the ulnar nerve. This nerve is situated in the cubital tunnel on the inside of the elbow. Sometimes, the nerve becomes entrapped within its tunnel, where it is subjected to pressure. If pressure persists, numbness may result, but typically not at the origin of the nerve. Numbness is more likely to be felt someplace on the hand.
- Your Tommy John is injured. The Tommy John ligament is technically the ulnar collateral ligament. It is referred to by the name of the major league baseball player who underwent surgery to correct an injury to the ligament in the elbow. This type of injury is, in fact, more common amongst baseball pitchers, in particular, due to the specific type of stress the elbow is put under. It is thought that a Tommy John ligament injury could be avoided with adequate rest in between pitching sessions.
- Watch that growth plate! Children are not immune to sports-related injuries, and we don't just mean collisions. Because the elbow has a growth plate largely made of cartilage, it is somewhat weak. With overexertion due to overhead throwing, the inner part of the elbow may become tender. A compression sleeve can relieve pain, as can rest. Continuing to work the elbow in light of pain could lead to bigger problems.
Patients in the area of Wayne and Clifton, NJ can contact us for orthopedic care that gets results.