The elbow is a complex joint where several bones come together: the upper arm (humerus), and the ulna and the radius (the bones that make up the forearm). The bones in the elbow are attached by ligaments that allow for motion and help absorb shock. Damage to the bones and soft tissues of the elbow can cause pain that can interfere with the quality of your life.
At Penn Orthopaedics, we are dedicated to restoring maximum joint function and eliminating or greatly reducing your elbow pain. We have extensive expertise in surgical and non-surgical treatment for every type of elbow condition.
Our orthopaedic team takes a “whole person” approach to care, considering all aspects of your lifestyle, personal needs and goals for treatment. Our ability to provide an accurate diagnosis leads to comprehensive treatment plans and better outcomes for your elbow condition.
Our team includes specialists across multiple disciplines:
- Orthopaedic surgeons
- Physical therapists
- Anesthesiologists and pain management specialists
- Sports medicine doctors
- Vascular medicine specialists
- Microvascular surgeons
- Infectious disease experts
What Causes Elbow Pain?
Elbow pain can be caused by one or more problems, such as fractures to any of the bones that make up the elbow, dislocation, chronic overuse, degeneration of soft tissues in the elbow and nerve damage. If you experience any of the following symptoms, a Penn orthopaedic specialist can determine if you have an elbow condition:
- Elbow pain
- Restriction in activity
- Decreased or painful range of motion
- Popping or snapping of joints
To evaluate elbow conditions, our orthopaedic surgeons collaborate with musculoskeletal (MSK) radiologists to determine the most accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment plans. We offer the latest diagnostic tests, including:
- CT scan
- Musculoskeletal ultrasound
Elbow conditions that we treat include:
Eliminating Elbow Pain Through an Advanced Pain Management Program
We understand that patients who experience less pain tend to have far better outcomes. Our advanced pain management program reduces elbow pain by offering effective alternatives to opioids and narcotics. Our pain management protocol reduces the risk of drug dependency by combining physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, anti-inflammatory medication, and behavioral and cognitive therapy. For certain surgical procedures, Penn physicians work with newer medications that may result in longer-term numbing from a single injection nerve block that offers immediate pain relief.
For some patients who require surgery, we collaborate with our anesthesia and physical therapy departments to administer an indwelling catheter that effectively reduces pain so that patients can regain motion in their elbow as quickly as possible. An anesthesiologist will numb the nerves and elbow area and insert a small catheter around the nerves. A continuous slow drip of local anesthetic will be maintained for two or three days. Many patients are able to begin their physical therapy much sooner as a result of this highly advanced pain management technique.
Second Opinions for Elbow Conditions
Our orthopaedic surgeons see a very high number of individuals in need of second opinions and revision surgeries for their elbow condition. We have expertise in all types of common and complex revision elbow surgery techniques, including total elbow replacement, advanced arthroscopic techniques of synovectomy, and tendon and ligament reconstruction such as ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury repair/reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery).