Category : Elbow

Bones Elbow Elbow Fracture Hand

Ask a Doctor: Elbow Fractures

Elbow Fractures

Hand surgeon Benjamin R. Graves, MD answers your questions about elbow fractures.

Of all the joints in the body, the elbow is one of the most complex.  This complexity comes from the fact that the “elbow joint” is made up of three separate joints that form where the humerus, radius, and ulna bones meet.  Under normal circumstances, these three joints work together seamlessly to allow the flexion, extension, and forearm rotation we need to brush our hair and teeth, feed ourselves, turn a door handle, serve a tennis ball, and perform a multitude of other daily tasks.

Fractures involving the elbow can range in severity, from relatively minor injuries that heal on their own, to more severe injuries that require surgery.  Elbow fractures can also lead to a lot of questions for patients and their families.  I have compiled a list of five questions that I am frequently asked regarding elbow fractures.

I hurt my elbow. How do I know if I have an elbow fracture?

Elbow fractures can occur in a variety of ways.  Low-energy injuries, such as falls from standing or bumping the elbow onto a hard object can lead to small, stable fractures that can easily be mistaken for a sprain or strain.  They don’t always cause deformity or instability, and might only cause limited swelling and hurt-to-the-touch in a specific location.  These injuries may hurt for days or weeks and then stop hurting on their own.

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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Elbow Hand Nerves

3 Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that involves the ulnar nerve, also known as the “funny bone” nerve, which runs on the inner side of the elbow. This condition can cause numbness or tingling in the ring finger and small finger (sometimes referred to as “pins and needles”), pain in the forearm, loss of sensation and/or weakness in the hand.

Here are three potential causes of this condition:

  1. Pressure: The ulnar nerve has little padding over it, so direct pressure (like leaning your arm on an arm rest) can cause the arm and hand — especially the ring and small fingers — to “fall asleep.”
  2. Stretching: Keeping the elbow bent for a long time can stretch the ulnar nerve.  This can happen while you sleep or if you are holding a phone for a long period of time, for example.
  3. Anatomy: Sometimes, the ulnar nerve simply does not stay in its place. It will snap back and forth over a bony bump as you move your elbow, which can irritate the nerve.
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Elbow Lateral Epicondylitis Tendons Tennis Elbow

How to Treat Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, officially called lateral epicondylitis, is a condition involving the degeneration of a tendon’s attachment on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. Simply put, the degeneration causes pain. The pain may be located on the outside of the elbow, and it can be tender to the touch. This condition can also cause pain during activity, especially when gripping or lifting things. Sometimes, the pain will travel down your forearm and into the hand.

Tennis elbow is commonly caused by overuse, which doesn’t necessarily result from playing tennis. Overuse can be from work-related activities such as typing or plumbing, or non-work activities such as painting. It can also be caused by trauma. If you’ve suffered from a direct blow to the elbow at some point, it may lead to degeneration.

Sometimes, tennis elbow pain will go away on its own. If it doesn’t, here are potential methods for treating this condition:

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Bicep Tendon Tear Elbow Shoulder Tendons

A Detailed Guide About Bicep Tendon Tears

Guest post from

A bicep tendon is a band of fibrous tissues which has the property of being tough as well as flexible. It can withstand tension due to its flexibility. A bicep tendon tear can occur at two places, either at the elbow or at the shoulder. Bicep tear occurring at the shoulder is more common. 90% of the tears happen at the shoulder. Main reasons being over-head weight lifting, not warming up properly before any heavy physical activity, smoking too much, and age. Use of steroids is harmful as well; they lead to various disorders such as deficiency in sperm count, impotency and infertility. Moreover, they may lead to dysplasia of collagen fibrils, which can decrease the tensile strength of tendon, thus causing the bicep tendon to tear. These tears weaken your arm to an extent that 30% of your flexural strength and 40% of your supination strength decreases.

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Baseball Elbow Hand Sports Injury

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Treating Tommy John Injuries

Baseball season is in full swing for the pros. Unfortunately, for many youth baseball players, summer leagues are just one of the year-round seasons they play. A Tommy John injury (injury of the ulnar collateral ligament at the elbow) was unheard of in youth leagues in the mid-90s. By 2010, the adolescent rate was nearly 40 percent. As a baseball enthusiast, I find this trend disturbing. I asked Dr. Bobby Chhabra, Chair of the Orthopedic Department at the University of Virginia, his perception of this epidemic.

“Every year I see more and more adolescent elbow injuries from pitching and throwing. These injuries vary across a spectrum from little leaguer’s elbow, to muscle strains, to UCL injuries (Tommy John), and cartilage injuries. I would agree that the adolescent rate is increasing and the trend shows that this group may soon reach half of all surgeries performed to repair a Tommy John injury. 

The reasons for this are likely multi-factorial but include the increasing number of kids who play one sport and pitch year round from a young age, have poor mechanics, have fatigue leading to poor mechanics and injury, and have overuse with minimal rest.  

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Elbow Hand Lateral Epicondylitis Tennis Elbow

Random Fact: Tennis Elbow

Playing tennisDid you know? Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis) doesn’t just happen to tennis players. Anyone, athletes and non-athletes, can get it from overuse. Learn more.

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Bones Dislocated Elbow Elbow Hand

Taking care of a dislocated elbow

a man holds his painful, aching elbow ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Guest post by Avery Arora, MD

When the bones in the forearm are moved out of place with the bones in the upper part of the arm, the result is usually a dislocated elbow. All of the bones in the arm meet at the elbow joint, and dislocating the joint is a very serious injury.

What causes a dislocated elbow?

The dislocation of an elbow generally stems from some type of traumatic force that causes the bones to push apart from one another. This can happen during many types of sports, as well as in auto accidents. It can also occur when someone falls onto his or her outstretched arms and tries to stop the fall.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Those who have dislocated their elbow will generally experience an enormous amount of pain when the injury occurs. They will no longer be able to continue with whatever activity they were doing, as the pain will be too bad and they will have limited movement. The greatest amount of pain is generally felt at the elbow, but pain can also be in the rest of the arm, the hand, and the fingers.

It’s often possible to feel the elbow “pop” out of place when the injury occurs. The area around the elbow will also begin to swell. In the most serious cases, it can cause damage to the blood vessels, which will result in a loss of pulse in the arm. This is very serious and requires immediate medical care.

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Anatomy Elbow Hand Muscles

Anatomy 101: Elbow Muscles

Elbow Muscles without border


The muscles that control your elbow are actually located in the upper and lower arm. There are three muscles and one tendon that help your elbow move. They are:

  1. Biceps Brachii: This is a muscle that is in the upper arm. It allows you to bend your elbow and rotate your forearm so that the palm faces up.
  2. Brachialis: This is a muscle located in the lower arm. It also helps bending of the elbow.
  3. Triceps Brachii: This is the third muscle. Located in the arm, it allows you to straighten your elbow.
  4. Lacertus: This is a thick tendon that runs from the tendon of the biceps.

Learn more about elbow muscles and other muscles, bones, joints and tendons of the upper extremity at

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