It's that time of year when spring sports are in full bloom. Elbow injuries can occur in any number of ways for athletes, from overuse to an incident in a game. Regardless of the cause, an injury to the elbow makes everyday activities painful and difficult.
Symptoms like pain, swelling, stiffness, or weakness may gradually worsen throughout the sports season. Repetitive extension, strong biceps contractions, or twisting and extending the wrist can cause injuries. An elbow injury can become severe as the damage to a nerve at the elbow joint can lead to permanent problems if left untreated.
In this blog, we look at common sporting injuries of the elbow:
- Tennis or Pickleball Elbow - Also referred to as lateral epicondylitis, this is one of the most commonly seen elbow injuries. Tennis elbow is a tendinitis caused by overusing the wrist and arm. Tennis elbow can be very painful and limits the range of motion. You may find it challenging to grip an object or turn a doorknob—visit an orthopedic specialist to evaluate your symptoms. Discuss any lifestyle factors or activities that may be causing damage from overuse.
- Golfers Elbow - Medial epicondylitis is a type of tendinitis that affects the inside of the elbow joint, resulting in pain, weakness, and tingling in the hand. Golfers' elbow damages the muscles and tendons that control the wrist and fingers, possibly due to repeated throwing, hitting, or poor technique. Golfers' elbows are not limited to golf. Treatment is very similar to tennis elbow. Consult an orthopedist if rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers don't ease your elbow pain and tenderness.
- Ulnar Nerve Entrapment - This compressive neuropathy occurs when the ulnar nerve is trapped or compressed, leading to progressive damage. Commonly caused by throwing or racket sports, the nerve can become inflamed or the passage becomes narrowed over time and can become entrapped. This compressed nerve causes intense pain in the elbow with tingling and numbness in the little finger. Without proper treatment early on in the injury, it can progress to cause weakness in the hand. Surgical decompression and various surgical approaches can offer relief if symptoms don't resolve, worsen, or persist for more than a few months.
- Olecranon Stress Fracture - One of the most common elbow injuries for athletes especially baseball players is an olecranon stress fracture. This injury presents a weakening of the muscles around your elbow. This weakening causes an inability to absorb the shock from repetitive throwing and gets transferred to the bone until a stress fracture to the olecranon bone occurs. Restricting movement in the arm can help it heal without surgery.
If you are suffering from an elbow injury or any musculoskeletal injury preventing you from doing activities, schedule an appointment with Dr. Daneca DiPaolo. Dr. DiPaolo offers state-of-the-art orthopedic care, using minimally invasive techniques. Get back to playing the game you love.
Dr. Daneca DiPaolo is a highly skilled, board certified orthopedic surgeon and hand specialist located in Grenada, Mississippi. She offers the newest orthopedic techniques, and she provides quality, compassionate, state of the art orthopedic care.