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Elbow Pain

As an expert in the diagnosis, treatment, and documentation of injuries sustained by patients involved in accidents (construction accidents, automobile accidents, work accidents, or slip and falls), Dr. Mollins often treats elbow pain. Whether it is an acute injury due to trauma, or a chronic injury resulting from overuse, elbow pain can be extremely disabling if not diagnosed and treated as expeditiously as possible.

Injuries that can cause elbow pain are as follows:

  • Tendinitis – there are basically 2 types.
  1. Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow): The lateral epicondyle is the outside bony portion of the elbow where large tendons attach to the elbow from the muscle of the forearm. These tendons can be injured, especially with repetitive motions of the forearm, such as using a manual screwdriver, washing windows, or hitting backhand in tennis. Tennis elbow then leads to inflammation of the tendon causing pain over the outside of the elbow, occasionally with warmth and swelling but always with local tenderness. The elbow maintains its full range of motion and the pain can be particularly noticed toward the end of the day. Repeated twisting motions or activities that strain the tendon typically elicit increased pain.
  2. Medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow) – This is inflamation at the point where the tendons of forearm attach to the bony prominence of the inner elbow. Many repetitive motions can injure the tendon. Golfer’s elbow is characterized by local pain and tenderness over the inner elbow. The range of motion of the elbow is typically preserved. Activities which require twisting or straining the forearm tendon can elicit pain and worsen the condition.
  • Olecranon bursitis – Olecranon bursitis (inflammation of the bursa at the top of the elbow) can occur from injury or minor trauma or it can be due to a local infection. Olecranon bursitis is typically associated with swelling over the top of the elbow, while range of motion of the inner elbow joint is maintained.
  • Fractures – The bones of the elbow can break (fracture) into the elbow joint or adjacent to the elbow joint. Typically, elbow fracture causes sharp pain in the elbow, and x-ray imaging is used to make a diagnosis. Fractures, typically are a result of trauma and generally require immobilization, casting, and may require orthopedic surgery involving pinning or open joint procedure.
  • Sprain – A sprain is a stretch or tear injury to a ligament. One or more ligaments can be injured during a sprain. This can occur when the elbow is hyperextended or simply jammed. The severity of the injury will depend on the extent of injury to a single ligament (whether the tear is partial or complete) and the number of ligaments involved.

When Dr. Mollins encounters a patient injured in a accident resulting in elbow pain, he will immediately take a concise history, then perform a comprehensive physical examination consisting of orthopedic testing as well as range of motion. In most cases, patients with elbow pain will be referred  to one of our orthopedic surgeons that specialize in treating elbow injuries. After a full evaluation which will most probably include radiological testing

(x-rays and/or MRI), our referred orthopedic physicians will determine a concise diagnosis and place our patients on a comprehensive treatment regimen. Treatment can vary (as needed) from conservative (physical therapy), to more aggressive means which may include injections and/or surgery. All our referred orthopedic surgeons (as well as all of our referred physicians) are Board Certified and Workers Compensation Certified.

This means that if your elbow injury occurred on the job, you can be treated at no cost. If you are unable to work, you can be compensated for lost wages until you are physically capable of returning to work. You can then still receive treatment at no cost.

Posted in: Injury Treatment, Work Injuries, Workers Compensation