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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Epicondylitis: Epicondylitis is an inflammation or damage to the area of an epicondyle of bone. An epicondyle
is a projection of bone above a condyle (a rounded prominence at the end of a bone, usually where the bone
connects to another bone) where ligaments and tendons are attached. Two common types of epicondylitis are
tennis elbow and golfer's elbow. Tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis, which is an overuse injury
to the area of the lateral (outside) epicondyle of the elbow end of the upper arm bone (humerus). Golfer's elbow
(medial epicondylitis) is an overuse injury similar to tennis elbow, but in this case the damage occurs in the area
of the medial (inside) epicondyle of the upper arm bone.

What injuries can cause elbow pain?


Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)

The lateral epicondyle is the outside bony portion of the elbow where large tendons attach to the elbow
from the muscles of the forearm. These tendons can be injured, especially with repetitive motions of the
forearm, such as using a manual screwdriver, washing windows, or hitting a backhand in tennis play.
Tennis elbow results with inflammation of the tendons causing pain over the outside of the elbow,
occasionally with warmth and swelling but always with local tenderness. The elbow maintains its full
range of motion, as the inner joint is not affected, and the pain can be particularly noticed toward the end
of the day. Repeated twisting motions or activities that strain the tendon typically elicit increased pain.
X-rays are usually normal but can reveal calcium deposits in the tendon or reveal other unforeseen
abnormalities of the elbow joint.

Medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow)

Medial epicondylitis is inflammation at the point where the tendons of the forearm attach to the bony
prominence of the inner elbow. As an example, this tendon can become strained in a golf swing, but
many other repetitive motions can injure the tendon. Golfer's elbow is characterized by local pain and
tenderness over the inner elbow. The range of motion of the elbow is preserved because the inner joint
of the elbow is not affected. Those activities which require twisting or straining the forearm tendon can
elicit pain and worsen the condition. X-rays for epicondylitis are usually normal but can indicate
calcifications of the tendons if the tendinitis has persisted for extended periods of time.

Olecranon bursitis

Olecranon bursitis (inflammation of the bursa a the tip of the elbow) can occur from injury or minor
trauma as a result of systemic diseases such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis, or it can be due to a local
infection. Olecranon bursitis is typically associated with swelling over the tip of the elbow, while range
of motion of the inner elbow joint is maintained.
The bones of the elbow can break (fracture) into the elbow joint or adjacent to the elbow joint.

generally require immobilization and casts and can require orthopedic pinning or open joint surgery.


A sprain is a stretch or tear injury to a ligament. One or more ligaments can be injured during a sprain.
This might occur when the elbow is hyperextended or simply jammed, such as in a "stiffarm" collision.
The severity of the injury will depend on the extent of injury to a single ligament (whether the tear is
partial or complete) and the number of ligaments involved. Treatment involves rest, ice, immobilization,
compression, and antiinflammation medications.