Elbow Pain | Elbow Replacement

Are you limiting the things you do because of elbow pain? Is elbow pain keeping you from enjoying daily tasks and activities? Doctors at MaineHealth are available to help diagnose and treat elbow pain so that patients can return to their normal routine as quickly as possible.

What is elbow pain?

The elbow joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the elbow joint move. Injury, overuse or medical conditions can cause elbow pain. It is important to treat elbow pain to prevent long term problems from occurring.

Elbow pain conditions

Common causes of elbow pain include:

  • Bursitis
  • Broken bone
  • Dislocated elbow
  • Golfer's elbow
  • Tennis elbow
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sprains and strains
  • Stress fractures
  • Trapped nerves

If you have elbow pain that will not go away, make an appointment to see your provider.

Common Signs of Elbow Problems

Elbow pain symptoms depend on the location, type, and severity of the injury or medical condition causing the pain. Common symptoms of elbow pain include:

  • Pain while performing simple tasks
  • Difficulty bending the elbow
  • Locking sensation in the elbow
  • Grating sound with movement
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Inability to move the joint
  • Joint instability
  • Limited range of motion

Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of elbow pain.

Variety of Tests to Understand Elbow Pain

Some diagnosis tests may include:

  • Physical examination and history
  • X-rays
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Sample and testing of bursa fluid or elbow joint fluid

To figure out what is causing elbow pain, doctors may use a variety of tests to confirm a diagnosis.

Elbow pain treatments

Some methods of treatment include:

  • Ice
  • Rest
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Immobilization
  • Steroid injections
  • Elbow padding
  • Surgical treatments

Mild elbow pain often only requires self-care at home, while severe elbow pain may need further intervention.

Elbow replacement

Elbow replacement surgery may be recommended after other treatments do not work. With elbow replacement, the surgeon replaces the joint with an artificial joint. Two implants are connected to the bones in your arm. People with rheumatoid arthritis or an elbow injury may be advised to get surgery to fix the pain and restore motion.

Most Elbow Disorders Are From Injury, Overuse

Some prevention strategies include:

  • Using proper techniques during sports and activities
  • Using a proper grip on sports equipment
  • Using proper tension on racquets
  • Warming up and stretching properly
  • Using elbow padding 
  • Strengthen your wrist, arm, shoulder, and back muscles to help protect your elbow
  • Do range-of-motion and light stretching exercises each day to prevent stiffness in the joint
  • Use equipment appropriate to your size, strength, and ability
  • Avoid leaning on the point of your elbow for prolonged periods
  • Take breaks from repetitive tasks and movement