Overuse Injuries of the Elbow

Overuse Injuries of the Elbow

Overuse Injuries of the Elbow

What are Overuse Injuries of the Elbow?

Overuse injuries occur when an action is repeated that puts pressure on tissue, muscles, or joints. If the body is not allowed to rest or heal, it can result in pain now and later in life. If left untreated, this can cause or aggravate other conditions, like tendonitis, a painful condition where the tendons become inflamed. This injury can be avoided by stretching, resting, and staying hydrated.

What Causes Overuse Injuries of the Elbow?

Tendons, ligaments, and muscles work together in the elbow to all for easy and pain-free movement. An overuse injury of the elbow occurs when movements are repeated without allowing for proper healing time, damaging the structures of the elbow. These motions, like throwing overhand, bending, or twisting the arm, can cause scarring of the tendons over time. Early treatment is important, because the blood supply to your tendons is limited, so healing after scarring can be difficult.
Lateral epicondylitis and medial epicondylitis, or tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, respectively, are two of the most common elbow injuries that result from overuse. Repetitive movements are not limited to sports, as they can often be caused by work habits.
Those who perform repetitive movements as part of their occupation or other activities, like athletes or factory workers, are most likely to develop an overuse injury of the elbow. Also, adolescents and children have a high risk of developing overuse injuries because their bones have not fully matured and therefore can’t handle as much stress as adult bones.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of overuse injuries of the elbow can include pain, tenderness, swelling, numbness, tingling, mobility issues, weakness. You may also experience clicking or popping in the elbow joint.

How Are Overuse Injuries of the Elbow Treated?

Treatment of overuse injuries of the elbow usually begins with conservative options. These may include rest, medication to ease inflammation, physical therapy exercises, and cold compression. Your doctor may prescribe the use of an immobilization device like a splint, cast, or brace. Use of lacrosse balls or manual TrP compression at the tendon insertions and within the muscle belly can be extremely beneficial.  Stick with the home care even when you are feeling better.
As always if your problem is getting worse or not improving, please see your primary physician who should refer you to an ortho specialist.
Health and love in 2017!
Dr. Meghan