Injuries are either acute or chronic. Common acute injuries include bruises, ligament injuries, tendon injuries, sprains, strains, torn or ruptured muscles, fractures, and dislocations.
Chronic injuries are also called overuse injuries and develop over time because of repetitive activity. The most common overuse injuries include bursitis, tendonitis, and pinched nerves.
You’re most likely to experience an elbow injury while playing sports, completing physically demanding work tasks, executing projects around the house or in the yard, or while attempting to break a fall.
If you play contact sports or high-speed sports -- football, soccer, wrestling, in-line skating, biking, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, or hockey -- you're at a higher risk of injuries.
Older adults are also at increased risk due to changes in the joint and loss of bone strength and muscle mass over time.
It’s important to call a doctor right away if:
Remember, only you know how you feel; it’s always okay to seek medical attention if you aren’t sure.
Family medicine doctors can treat minor elbow injuries but will send you to an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine doctor for treatment of chronic or complex injuries.
Orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors have extensive training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of bone and joint injuries.
How your provider treats your elbow injury depends on its nature, your medical and family history, and your treatment goals (i.e. pain relief or full return to competitive sports). Treatment may include first aid, immobilization with a brace or cast, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, or surgery.