Elbow

Elbow Providers

Southwest Sports Medicine Non-surgical shoulder specialists perform in-depth evaluations and use advanced imaging studies when necessary to determine the underlying cause of your shoulder injury. Most injuries can be treated conservatively by nonsurgical procedures. Southwest Sports Medicine offers a comprehensive range of treatment options ranging from pain medication and physical therapy to state-of-the-art biologic injections to speed up your recovery.

Non-surgical Elbow Providers

Southwest Sports Medicine Non-surgical shoulder specialists perform in-depth evaluations and use advanced imaging studies when necessary to determine the underlying cause of your shoulder injury. Most injuries can be treated conservatively by nonsurgical procedures. Southwest Sports Medicine offers a comprehensive range of treatment options ranging from pain medication and physical therapy to state-of-the-art biologic injections to speed up your recovery.

Elbow Anatomy

The elbow is a complex joint formed by the articulation of three bones –the humerus, radius and ulna. The elbow joint helps in bending or straightening of the arm to 180 degrees and assists in lifting or moving objects.

Elbow Anatomy

The bones of the elbow are supported by

  • Ligaments and tendons
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • Blood vessels

Bones and Joints of the elbow joint:

The elbow joint is formed at the junction of three bones:

  • The Humerus (upper arm bone) forms the upper portion of the joint. The lower end of the humerus divides in to two bony protrusions known as the medial and lateral epicondyles which can be felt on either side of the elbow joint.
  • The Ulna is the larger bone of the forearm located on the inner surface of the joint. The curved shape of the ulna articulates with the humerus.
  • The Radius is the smaller bone of the forearm situated on the outer surface of the joint. The head of the radius is circular and hollow which allows movement with the humerus. The connection between the ulna and radius helps the forearm to rotate.

The elbow consists of three joints from articulation of the three bones namely:

  • Humero-ulnar joint is formed between the humerus and ulna and allows flexion and extension of the arm.
  • Humero-radial joint is formed between the radius and humerus, and allows movements like flexion, extension, supination and pronation.
  • Radio-ulnar joint is formed between ulna and radius bones, and allows rotation of the lower arm.

Articular cartilage lines the articulating regions of the humerus, radius and ulna. It is a thin, tough, flexible, and slippery surface that acts as a shock absorber and cushion to reduce friction between the bones. The cartilage is lubricated by synovial fluid, which further enables the smooth movement of the bones.

Muscles of the Elbow Joint

There are several muscles extending across the elbow joint that help in various movements. These include the following:

  • Biceps brachii: upper arm muscle enabling flexion of the arm
  • Triceps brachii: muscle in the back of the upper arm that extends the arm and fixes the elbow during fine movements
  • Brachialis: upper arm muscle beneath the biceps which flexes the elbow towards the body
  • Brachioradialis: forearm muscle that flexes, straightens and pulls the arm at the elbow
  • Pronator teres: this muscle extends from the humeral head, across the elbow, and towards the ulna, and helps to turn the palm facing backward
  • Extensor carpi radialis brevis: forearm muscle that helps in movement of the hand
  • Extensor digitorum: forearm muscle that helps in movement of the fingers

Elbow joint ligaments and tendons:

The elbow joint is supported by ligaments and tendons, which provide stability to the joint.

Ligaments are a group of firm tissues that connect bones to other bones. The most important ligaments of the elbow joint are the:

  • Medial or ulnar collateral ligament: comprised of triangular bands of tissue on the inner side of the elbow joint.
  • Lateral or radial collateral ligament: a thin band of tissue on the outer side of the elbow joint.

Together, the medial and lateral ligaments are the main source of stability and hold the humerus and ulna tightly in place during movement of the arm.

  • Annular ligament: These are a group of fibers that surrounds the radial head, and holds the ulna and radius tightly in place during movement of the arm.

The ligaments around a joint combine to form a joint capsule that contains synovial fluid.

Any injury to these ligaments can lead to instability of the elbow joint.

Tendons are bands of connective tissue fibers that connect muscle to bone. The various tendons which surround the elbow joint include:

  • Biceps tendon: attaches the biceps muscle to the radius, allowing the elbow to bend
  • Triceps tendon: attaches the triceps muscle to the ulna, allowing the elbow to straighten

Nerves of the elbow joint:

The main nerves of the elbow joint are the ulnar, radial and median nerves. These nerves transfer signals from the brain to the muscles that aid in elbow movements. They also carry the sensory signals like touch, pain, and temperature back to the brain.

Any injury or damage to these nerves causes pain, weakness or joint instability.

Blood vessels:

Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-pure blood from the heart to the hand. The main artery of the elbow is the brachial artery that travels across the inside of the elbow and divides into two small branches below the elbow to form the ulnar and the radial artery.

Conditions

  • Bicep Tendon Tear at Elbow

    Bicep Tendon Tear at Elbow

    The biceps muscle, located in the front of the upper arm allows you to bend the elbow and rotate the arm. Biceps tendons attach the biceps muscle to the bones...

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  • Bicep Tendon Rupture

    The biceps muscle is present on the front side of your upper arm and functions to help you bend and rotate your arm...

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  • Elbow Dislocation

    Elbow Dislocation

    The elbow is a hinge joint made up of 3 bones – humerus, radius and ulna. The bones are held together by ligaments to provide stability to the joint. Muscles and tendons...

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  • Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis

    Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis

    The elbow contains a large, curved, pointy bone at the back called the olecranon, which is covered by the olecranon bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that allows smooth movement...

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  • Ulnar Nerve Entrapment (Cubital Tunnel Syndrome)

    Ulnar Nerve Entrapment (Cubital Tunnel Syndrome)

    Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition characterized by compression of the ulnar nerve in an area of the elbow called the cubital tunnel...

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  • Elbow Sprain

    Elbow Sprain

    Elbow sprain is an injury to the soft tissues of the elbow. It is caused due to stretching or tearing (partial or full) of the ligaments which support the elbow joint...

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  • Tennis Elbow

    Tennis Elbow

    Tennis elbow is the common name used for the elbow condition called lateral epicondylitis. It is an overuse injury that causes inflammation of the tendons that attach...

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  • Golfer’s Elbow

    Golfer’s Elbow

    Golfer’s elbow, also called Medial Epicondylitis, is a painful condition occurring from repeated muscle contractions in the forearm that leads to inflammation and microtears...

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  • Elbow Injuries

    Elbow Fractures: Fracture is a common injury to the elbow. Elbow fractures may result from a fall onto an outstretched wrist, a direct impact to the elbow or a twisting injury...

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  • Little League Elbow

    Little league elbow also called as medial apophysitis, is an overuse condition that occurs when there is overstress or injury to the inside portion of the elbow...

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  • Nursemaid’s Elbow

    Dislocation of the radius bone present in the elbow is called nursemaid’s elbow. This condition is very common among children below 5 years of age as their bones and muscles...

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  • Elbow Pain

    Elbow Pain

    The elbow is a hinge joint made up of 3 bones – humerus, radius and ulna. The bones are held together by ligaments to provide stability to the joint. Muscles and tendons...

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Fractures/ Injuries
  • Forearms Fracture in Children

    Forearms Fracture in Children

    The radius (bone on the thumb side) and ulna (bone on the little-finger side) are the two bones of the forearm. Forearm fractures can occur near the wrist, near the elbow...

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  • Adult Forearm Fractures

    The forearm is made up of 2 bones, namely, the radius and ulna. The primary function of your forearm is rotation i.e., the ability to turn your palm up and down...

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  • Distal Humerus Fractures of the Elbow

    Distal Humerus Fractures of the Elbow

    The elbow is a region between the upper arm and the fore arm. The elbow joint is made up of 3 bones. The distal (lower) end of the humerus bone in the upper arm joins...

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  • Elbow Fractures in Children

    Elbow Fractures in Children

    The elbow is a joint that consists of three bones – the humerus (upper arm bone), radius (forearm bone) and ulna (forearm bone). An elbow fracture most commonly occurs when your...

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  • Radial Head Fractures of the Elbow

    Radial Head Fractures of the Elbow

    The elbow is a junction between the forearm and the upper arm. The elbow joint is made up of 3 bones namely the humerus bone in the upper arm which joins with the radius

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  • Elbow Fractures

    Elbow Fractures

    Three bones, the humerus, radius and ulna, make up the elbow joint. Elbow fractures may occur from trauma, resulting from various reasons; some of them being a fall...

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Procedures

  • Total Elbow Replacement

    Total Elbow Replacement

    Elbow Joint Replacement, also referred to as Total Elbow Arthroplasty is an operative procedure to treat the symptoms of arthritis that have not responded...

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  • Elbow Arthroscopy

    Elbow Arthroscopy

    Elbow arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery, is performed through tiny incisions to evaluate and treat several elbow conditions.

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  • Elbow Ligament Reconstruction

    The elbow is a complex joint of the upper limb formed by the articulation of the long bone of the upper arm or humerus and the two bones of the forearm, namely, radius and ulna...

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  • Elbow Tendon and Ligament Repair

    The elbow is a complex joint of the upper limb formed by the articulation of the long bone of the upper arm or humerus and the two bones of the forearm, namely, radius and ulna...

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  • Elbow Contracture

    Elbow contracture refers to a stiff elbow with limited range of motion. It is a common complication following elbow surgery, fractures, dislocations, and burns...

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Elbow Surgical Videos

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