At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, our experienced elbow surgeons perform thousands of surgeries each year. We pride ourselves on offering the least invasive surgical options to allow our patients to recover quickly from elbow surgery and return to their regular lives faster. Our surgeons take the time to explain your unique condition to you and walk you through your treatment from beginning to end. Our specialists will always encourage non-surgical options when possible and recommend surgical options only when necessary.
What is a traumatic elbow injury?
A traumatic elbow injury, also known as an acute elbow injury, refers to damage to the elbow caused by sudden impact. A traumatic elbow injury is often the result of a collision during contact sports, car accident, or falling on the arm. The most common acute elbow injuries include the following:
A broken elbow or elbow fracture can occur in one of the three bones that form your elbow joint, the upper arm, and forearm bones.
Elbow hyperextension injuries can occur when the elbow is forcefully bent in the wrong direction, causing the ligaments to tear or another elbow structural problem.
When the elbow is sprained, it usually means the medial collateral (MCL) ligament is damaged. This may be due to sudden impact, such as a sports injury.
The elbow can become dislocated due to a direct blow or accident, causing the joint to move out of alignment.
Ulnar Nerve Compression
The ulnar nerve, a major nerve that runs through the elbow (commonly associated with the “funny bone”), can become compressed due to sudden impact or a fall.
What are the symptoms of a traumatic elbow injury?
It is important to visit an orthopedic specialist if you are suffering from any of these common symptoms of an elbow injury:
- Sudden, intense elbow pain
- Bruising or discoloration around the elbow
- Inflammation around the elbow
- Loss of range of motion in the elbow
How is a traumatic elbow injury diagnosed?
At the first signs of elbow trauma, you should speak with an elbow specialist. MedStar Orthopaedic Instituteis home to experts in a wide range of elbow conditions who have years of experience diagnosing and treating elbow injuries. Your elbow exam will likely include the following:
- Medical history evaluation – Your physician will discuss your medical history with you and any relevant prior elbow problems.
- Physical exam – Your doctor will evaluate the affected area and may ask you questions about where you are feeling pain or discomfort.
- Imaging tests – Your orthopedist will also likely conduct imaging studies to rule out a fracture and accurately diagnose your elbow condition.
What are the best traumatic elbow injury treatment options?
A traumatic elbow injury often requires surgical intervention. Depending on the type of elbow injury and the severity of the condition, our orthopedic specialists may recommend one of the following treatments:
- Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery)
- Open reduction with internal fixation of the elbow
If you believe you may be suffering from elbow trauma, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating elbow conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive elbow injury care in the Washington, D.C. area.