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Physio treatment for the Elbow

Physio treatment for the elbow

Physio treatment for the elbow


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Elbow Injuries

Elbow injuries usually result from a trauma, or direct blow i.e. slip on the ice, steering wheel injury in a traffic accident.

Ligaments (which help to support the Elbow) can be sprained, and the cartilage between the elbow joint can also be damaged such as Javelin throwing.

Tennis elbow is a common problem causing pain over the outside of the elbow when trying to lift objects up.

Golfers elbow is less common and causes pain on the inside of the elbow, when trying to lift objects.

Osteoarthritis of the elbow occurs with poor biomechanics and overuse over a long period of time such as repetitive throwing or lifting.

Fractures of the elbow can occur when the hand is fixed and the elbow hyperextends.

Symptoms of elbow problems

• Heat and swelling usually following a trauma.
• Pain and inability to use the arm.
• Catching and locking may indicate a cartilage tear or a loose body.
• Swelling may occur over the elbow joint as a result of wear and tear.
• Instability usually when collateral ligament damage is suspected.
• Unable to straighten the elbow may indicate cartilage damage or a loose body.
• Muscle spasm may occur to protect the damaged wrist at the time of injury

Treatment for elbow problems

• Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation (RICE) – for all acute elbow injuries
• In the case of severe injury and pain, a trip to casualty for X-rays to discount the possibility of a fracture is recommended.
• Full physiotherapy assessment to determine the nature of the injury and whether consultant referral is necessary in the case of ligament rupture, cartilage damage or loose body.
• Physiotherapy to remove swelling, mobilise soft tissues, strengthen muscles and restore joint proprioception.
• It may be necessary to immobilise the damaged joints to aid recovery. This will normally be determined by the hospital.