Elbow Conditions

The elbow is a joint in the arm where the upper arm bone (humerus) meets the two forearm bones (radius and ulna). It allows for bending and straightening of the arm, as well as rotating the forearm. The elbow joint is essential for various activities involving the use of the arms, such as lifting, carrying, and throwing.

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Your Guide to Understanding Elbow Conditions

Elbow Conditions

What is Elbow Conditions?

The elbow is a complex joint located in the arm where the upper arm bone, known as the humerus, meets the two bones of the forearm, called the radius and ulna. It serves as a pivotal point that facilitates the movement and coordination of the arm. The primary function of the elbow joint is to allow for bending and straightening of the arm, as well as rotating the forearm to perform various tasks.

Anatomy-wise, the elbow joint consists of three main components: the humerus, the radius, and the ulna. The humerus forms the upper portion of the joint and has specific bony landmarks such as the medial and lateral epicondyles, which provide attachment sites for muscles and ligaments. The radius and ulna are the two bones of the forearm that form the lower portion of the joint. The radial head, located at the top of the radius, articulates with the capitulum of the humerus, allowing the forearm to rotate.

How can Chiropractic help treat Elbow Conditions?

Chiropractic services offer a unique approach to alleviate elbow pain and discomfort by addressing the underlying musculoskeletal imbalances that contribute to the condition. Chiropractors focus on the movement or mobility of the spine, which can impact the function of the entire body, including the elbows. By performing adjustments and manipulations, chiropractors can improve joint mobility, reduce inflammation, and promote healing in the affected area.

Chiropractors may also employ techniques such as soft tissue therapy, stretches, and exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles and support proper elbow function. Through these comprehensive approaches, chiropractic care can effectively alleviate elbow pain and improve overall elbow health.

What causes Elbow Conditions?

Elbow injuries are typically caused by a variety of factors, including trauma, repetitive motions, and overuse. Traumatic injuries to the elbow can occur from falls, accidents, or direct blows to the joint, resulting in fractures, dislocations, or sprains. Repetitive motions, such as those involved in sports like tennis or golf, can lead to conditions like tennis elbow or golfer's elbow, characterized by inflammation and pain in the tendons of the elbow. Overuse injuries often result from repetitive or excessive strain on the elbow joint, such as with activities involving heavy lifting or repetitive gripping. These can cause conditions like tendinitis or bursitis, causing pain and discomfort in the elbow.

What treatments might help Elbow Conditions?

Treatment for elbow conditions aims to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, improve range of motion, and enhance overall function. Here are some common ways in which treatment can help improve elbow conditions:

  • Pain management: Various treatments can help alleviate elbow pain, including medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs. Additionally, therapies like heat or ice application, ultrasound, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may provide pain relief.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy plays a crucial role in rehabilitating the elbow. A physical therapist can assess your condition and develop an individualized treatment plan that includes exercises to strengthen the muscles around the elbow, improve flexibility, and restore range of motion.
  • Manual therapy: Hands-on techniques performed by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor or physiotherapist, can help improve elbow conditions. These may include joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, or stretching techniques to reduce stiffness, increase blood flow, and promote healing.
  • Brace or splint: Depending on the specific condition, a brace or splint may be recommended to provide support, protect the elbow, and immobilize it during the healing process.
  • Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be utilized to reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief. These injections are typically administered by a healthcare professional.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where conservative treatment methods have not been successful, surgery may be considered. Surgical procedures for elbow conditions can involve repairing damaged structures, removing loose bodies, or reconstructing ligaments or tendons.

Signs of Elbow Conditions:

Elbow conditions can present with various signs and symptoms. Here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Pain: Elbow pain is a common symptom of many elbow conditions. It may range from a dull ache to sharp, intense pain. The pain can be localized to the elbow joint or radiate to the forearm or hand.
  • Swelling and inflammation: Inflammation in the elbow joint can lead to swelling, redness, and warmth around the area. This may be accompanied by a feeling of tightness or stiffness.
  • Limited range of motion: Elbow conditions can cause a decrease in the elbow's range of motion. You may have difficulty fully straightening or bending your arm, or experience limitations in movements such as reaching or grasping objects.
  • Weakness and instability: Some elbow conditions can result in weakness or instability of the joint. You may notice a decreased ability to grip or lift objects, or feel like your elbow is giving way or unstable during certain activities.
  • Tenderness to touch: The affected area of the elbow may be tender to touch. Pressing on specific points may elicit pain or discomfort.
  • Numbness or tingling: In certain cases, elbow conditions can cause numbness or tingling sensations that radiate down the arm or into the fingers.

Symptoms of Elbow Conditions:

Elbow conditions can cause a variety of symptoms. Here are some common symptoms to watch for:

  • Pain: Elbow pain is the most common symptom of elbow conditions. It can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. The pain may be constant or occur during certain activities.
  • Swelling: Inflammation in the elbow joint can lead to swelling. The affected area may appear larger or feel puffy.
  • Stiffness: Elbow conditions can result in stiffness, making it difficult to fully extend or bend your arm. This limited range of motion can affect everyday activities.
  • Weakness: Some people with elbow issues may experience weakness in their grip or difficulty performing tasks that require forearm and hand strength.
  • Numbness or tingling: In certain cases, elbow conditions can cause numbness or tingling sensations that radiate down the arm or into the fingers.
  • Instability: A feeling of instability or looseness in the elbow joint may be present. This can make the joint feel wobbly or give a sense that it might "pop out" of place.
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When is the right time to see a Chiropractor for Elbow Conditions?

You should consider seeing a chiropractor if you are seeking a non-invasive approach to address your elbow pain or dysfunction. Chiropractors specialize in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal issues, including those related to the elbow. They can provide hands-on treatments, such as adjustments and soft tissue techniques, to alleviate pain and improve joint function.

Meet our Lead Chiropractor

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Dr. Brett Herlehy


Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Brett enjoys working with active individuals looking to reach the next level and also anyone who is trying to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

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Physiotherapist Brittany Pereira working with client at Anchor Health and Performance Clinic Mississauga
Interior Lobby at Anchor Health and Performance Clinic in Mississauga