Treatment for Elbow Conditions & Injuries

The elbow joint is surprisingly resilient to both wear and tear and injuries but when elbow problems occur they can be very disabling. Our team of expert arthroscopic surgeons treat elbow conditions including Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, loose bodies and elbow instability.

Dedicated elbow arthroscopy website

Patients can find all the information they need about some of the more common elbow problems, while surgeons and medical professionals can find a range of up-to-date medical resources for anyone involved in or studying elbow arthroscopy.

Please click the below to go to the external website or scroll down to see more information on elbow conditions.


Elbow Fractures

These are relatively uncommon and are normally caused by trauma from a fall. Patients will hear or feel a snap or a crack in their elbow joint. The elbow will then become immediately painful, difficult to use and will swell rapidly. Any or all of the three main bones which make up the elbow joint (humerus, radius and ulna) can be involved in a fracture.

Treatment: Mild fractures can be treated non-operatively but more serious ones may require surgery.

Tennis Elbow

This is chronic inflammation of the tendons on the outside of the elbow caused by overuse, typically in racquet sports. Patient will experience localised pain and weakness as well as difficulty holding or gripping objects.

Treatment: Most patients can be treated non-operatively with physiotherapy, forearm supports and, in some cases, injections. These can either be steroid injections or injections of platelets taken from their own blood. Shock wave therapy is also used and can speed up the recovery process. Only very rarely is surgery required.

Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow is chronic inflammation of the tendons attached on the inside of the elbow. The condition is caused by overuse or repetitive strain of the tendons.

Treatment: A careful history and examination is performed and the diagnosis confirmed by a clinical assessment and normally an ultrasound scan. Patients will normally settle with rest, physiotherapy, splints and occasional injections or shock wave therapy.   Surgery is very rarely needed.

Loose Body

A loose body is when a loose piece of bone and/or cartilage becomes broken off from the articular surfaces inside the elbow joint. Patients experience intermittent episodes of acute pain associated with locking of their elbow joint. This will normally be traced back to an old injury. Alternatively, the elbow joint may have become arthritic and a minor traumatic event may cause part of that arthritic bone to break off. Patients with loose bodies in their joint complain of pain, clicking, locking and a sensation of instability preventing them enjoying their usual sports and activities.

Treatment: If symptoms are significant, keyhole surgery may be required to remove the loose bodies.

Elbow Instability

Elbow instability causes the joint to feel weak, loose, unstable and painful. There are various types of instability requiring careful clinical assessment and imaging.

Treatment: Non-operative treatment involves exercise-based strengthening, avoidance of aggravating factors and bracing to restrict movement. For more complex and severe cases, elbow ligament reconstruction surgery may be required.  

Posterior Impingement of the Elbow

This is caused by overuse of the elbow joint and commonly affects people who play racquet sports, throw and box. Patients develop pain and tenderness at the back of the elbow when they attempt to straighten the joint. There may also be weakness and loss of power. For example, tennis players may notice their serving speed slows down.

Treatment: This condition is often treatable with physical therapy and steroid injections. If there is degenerative disease then Hyaluronic Acid Analogue injections may be required. In more severe cases, keyhole surgery may be performed.

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