Injuries to the elbow are common, particularly for sports involving a repetitive throwing motion (baseball, softball, volleyball, etc.). While the elbow is a smaller joint than many others in the body, there can be a significant amount of force applied to the elbow, causing pain or injury. Symptoms of elbow injuries could include swelling, catching or locking of the elbow joint, and inability to gain full extension or flexion at the elbow. Other common elbow injuries are referred to as Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow, both similar in nature due to chronic overuse of the elbow joint. Tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow, while Golfers Elbow affects the inside of the elbow.
For injuries that are partial in nature, we offer a few different non-operative, conservative treatment options. Most commonly, these non-surgical therapies we employ for elbow injuries include use of anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and steroid or PRP injections. If those approaches prove unsuccessful for a patient, or images show the presence of loose bodies in the elbow, we do offer arthroscopic elbow surgery to help debride and repair torn tissues.
Due to increased activity in youth sports we are seeing an increase in the number of Tommy John injuries. The Tommy John ligament is the main ligament that keeps the elbow stable for throwing athletes. For complete tears, our surgeons can reconstruct the ligament with a graft in the arm. After surgery, our team will work with you on a return to play plan, involving rest, physical therapy and a progressive reinstatement of throwing motions. It is important for parents, coaches and athletes to all pay attention and adhere to the recommended pitch counts and watch carefully the number of throws made.