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Common elbow conditions

Many conditions can affect the elbows. From arthritis, repetitive strain, sports injury or frequent pressure placed on the elbow.

Elbow arthritis

Elbow arthritis can happen from the wear and tear of the joint over time as the cartilage that cushions the joints thins and causes pain.

This can happen as we age, from a previous injury or repetitive strain. Arthritis of the elbow can be very painful and interfere with your everyday tasks.

It can initially be treated with anti-inflammatory medicine, rest and physiotherapy.

However, if pain persists you may be offered surgery to remove the damaged tissue and reshape the bone. It is also possible to have elbow joint replacement surgery if your arthritis is particularly severe.

Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is pain felt down the forearm, on the outside of the elbow resulting from overuse such as playing golf, tennis and other repetitive strain.
If the use of anti-inflammatories, wearing a brace and physiotherapy do not help, then arthroscopic surgery can be performed to remove the section of the tendon which is damaged.

Golfers elbow

Similar to tennis elbow, golfers elbow is pain felt down the forearm but on the inside of the elbow and is commonly felt in sports of repetitive nature.

Alike tennis elbow, surgery for golfers elbow involves an operation to remove the section of the tendon which is damaged.

Ulnar nerve problems

The ulnar nerve travels down from your neck to your hand and can cause pain if it becomes inflammed and constricted.

The most common place for this to happen is at the elbow if you lean on your elbow for long periods of time, have fluid build up or trauma to the area.

This can cause cubital tunnel syndrome which may benefit from rest and avoidance of leaning on the elbow, but if pain persists then cubital tunnel decompression surgery may be required.

Elbow fractures & sprains

Elbow fractures & sprains are common and tend to happen by either falling over and landing on your elbow, or a sudden impact possibly from contact sport such as rugby.

Fractures can mostly be treated by wearing a cast, however some may need surgery. Sprain will often settle down on their own but if they don't then you may need further checks to make sure there isn't anything else going on.


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