Disorders of the Elbow

The elbow is a hinge joint between the humerus (upper arm bone) and the ulna and radius. The elbow allows you to bend and straighten your arm and to rotate your forearm without moving your upper arm. Your biceps muscle bends the forearm, while your triceps muscle straightens the forearm. The bony projection that forms the point of the elbow is the olecranon. Popularly known as the "funny bone," because bumping the nerve (the ulnar nerve) that passes over it produces a familiar tingling sensation, the olecranon prevents overextension of the elbow.

Epicondylitis

Tendons attach the forearm muscles to the elbow at bony outgrowths called epicondyles. These tendons can become

Bones and Joints the forearm (such as using a manual screwdriver, washing windows, or swinging a baseball bat). This inflammation is called epicondylitis. The two types of epicondylitis are called tennis elbow (the outer tendons are inflamed) and golfer's elbow (the inner tendons are inflamed).

The usual treatment for these disorders includes ice packs, rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or, in severe cases, corticosteroid injections. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

Humerus

Olecranon

. -Ulna

Radius —

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A trapped ulnar nerve is another common injury that occurs when the nerve that crosses the point of the elbow is compressed or pinched. This causes numbness,

Common

Health

Concerns tingling, weakness, and pain in the forearm and hand. Rest, ice, and avoiding reinjury can relieve symptoms and help the damaged nerve heal. Surgery to reposition the ulnar nerve may help prevent repeated compression.

Other possible elbow disorders include bursitis (see page 305), fractures (see page 304), and osteoarthritis (see page 308).

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