Elbow Disorders

Even though your pain may be in your elbow, we typically examine your entire upper body including posture or mechanics of your work/sport. The way you move is influenced by your neck, back, shoulders and hands. Muscle weakness, decreased flexibility or decreased mobility of a joint can impact surrounding joints. At CPTC, we do a thorough examination of all the joints, supporting muscles and ligaments of the elbow and may also assess the cervical spine and the shoulder for involvement.

The elbow joint is comprised of three different joints enclosed in one capsule:

• Humeral-ulnar joint – the humerus (upper arm bone) connects with the ulna (little finger side of the forearm), joint is considered the ‘funny bone’; creates bending and straightening of the forearm
• Radio-humeral joint – the humerus connects with the radius (thumb side of the forearm)
• Radio-ulnar joint – the radius and ulna connect at the elbow and the wrist, creates rotation of the forearm

Commonly seen elbow disorders include (but are not limited to):

• Medial epicondylitis/epicondylosis or "golfer’s elbow"
• Lateral epicondylitis/epicondylosis or "tennis elbow"
• Flexor-pronator muscle strains – inside elbow pain in throwing athletes
• Ligament sprains; example: ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) sprain
• Muscle strains
• Distal bicipital tendonitis/tendonosis/tendonopathy (where the bicep attaches at the elbow)
• Triceps tendonitis/tendonosis/tendonopathy
• Peripheral nerve injuries to either ulnar, radial, or median nerves
• Cubital tunnel syndrome – the ulnar nerve is trapped or pinched as it runs on the back side of the elbow, presents with numbness/tingling in the little and ring fingers
• Radial tunnel syndrome – the radial nerve is trapped or pinched as it runs along the outside of the elbow, typically does not cause pain, only weakness
• Stress fracture
• OCD (osteochondritis dissecans) – a joint disorder where cracks form in the cartilage on bone, causing loose fragments to break free and remain in the joint space
• Panner’s Disease – temporary distribution to the blood supply of the growth plate in the elbow, mostly in young throwing athletes
• Olecranon bursitis

We are also trained to treat all post-surgical conditions following appropriate tissue healing parameters and the referring physician’s rehabilitation guidelines or protocol.

Depending on your individual needs, your treatment plan may include a wide variety of interventions such as: joint mobilizations of the elbow (or wrist), soft tissue mobilizations to surrounding muscles, modalities (electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or iontophoresis if indicated), exercises for strengthening (including eccentric for tendinopathies )and/or stretching, and posture education.

Comprehensive Physical Therapy Center · 100 Timberhill Place, Suite #115 · Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Phone: (919) 967-5959 · Fax: (919) 968-1478 · Email: cptc@bellsouth.net
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