Arm and Elbow pain

The elbow is a complex synovial, hinge joint which is made up of the long humerus bone which articulates with the forearm bones (ulna and radius), allowing for flexion and extension movements to occur. The elbow is surrounded by numerous muscles, ligaments and tendons and the joint is lined with a capsule and contains bursae which prevent friction occurring on the bones. Injuries at the elbow are relatively common in sport, with dislocation and epicondylitis (also known as tennis or golfers elbow) being the most prevelant.

Tennis Elbow
Also known as Lateral Epicondylitis. This is one of the most common elbow injuries seen in our profession. It is very common amongst athletes and manual workers who repetitively do the same twisting or extending motion of the wrist, which causes inflammation and irritation at the lateral epicondyle (bony prominence on the outer surface of the elbow). This type of injury usually presents with pain on the outer surface of the elbow, weakness in grip strength, pain when moving the wrist and there us a gradual onset of symptoms.

Golfers Elbow
Medial elbow pain is usually related to excessive throwing activities, however it is traditionally known as golfers elbow. It is not as common as tennis elbow and is commonly seen in golfers and in tennis players who impart a lot of top spin on their forehand shot. Patients with this condition normally have localised tenderness on the inside of the elbow.

Medial/Lateral Ligament Sprain
Occurs when there is excessive stress to the ligament on the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow. This is quite common in contact sports when following onto an outstretched arm and twisting and results in a sudden onset of pain, with local swelling and tenderness when pressing on the ligament. This can also occur as an overuse injury in sports such as throwing as there is constant stress through these ligaments on the inside/outside of the elbow.

Olecronon Bursitis
Olecranon bursitis occurs behind the elbow joint. It will present with tenderness and swelling over the back of the elbow. It can occur after a single trauma to the elbow, or more commonly, after repeatedly falling on to the elbow or resting the elbow on hard surfaces for prolonged periods.

Elbow Hyperextension
The most common mechanism of hyperextension is when the arm is over-straightened, which causes damage to the soft tissues; especially at the front of the elbow. Pain will be felt at the front of the elbow, especially during elbow extension and some swelling may appear.

Muscle Contusion
This occurs when there is bruising to the muscle belly which usually happens when there is direct impact or force to the area through collision from a ball or racket. Symptoms include, immediate pain on impact, swelling, bruising and tenderness on touch.

All sports injuries are treated at one of our local clinics. Treatment can include sports massage, soft tissue mobilisations, joint mobilisation techniques, ultrasound and exercise therapy.