It’s a common misconception that only athletes, especially those playing at a high level, are at risk for an elbow ailment. An injured elbow can happen to anyone: schoolkids, office workers, people who do heavy lifting on the job, the elderly, and many other populations.
And if our elbows don’t work properly, the number of things we find harder to do is surprisingly large. Writing, using a computer keyboard, cooking, and even driving depend on proper range of motion, flexibility, and strength in our elbow joints. A recurrent problem – whether it occurs in your radius, ulna, muscles, or tendons – can put you out of commission for the things you want and need to do. That’s why it’s so important to get prompt treatment, and JAG Physical Therapy is your local expert in elbow support.
Common Elbow Injuries
Read more information about some of the most common elbow conditions below, or click here to schedule an appointment with JAG PT right away and start your elbow pain recovery.
Is Physical Therapy Good for Elbow Pain?
Most elbow conditions respond extremely well to the appropriate physical therapy techniques. Coordinated stretching, medical massage, and proper use of supportive devices can all be helpful in relieving pain and speeding healing in the arm bones, muscles, and tendons.
What Causes Pain in the Elbow?
The most common cause of elbow pain is wear due to overuse, which can progress into a repetitive strain injury. Other common complaints are injuries due to hyperextension, tendinitis, various forms of arthritis, and neuropathies. The elbow is also one of the most commonly dislocated joints, because it’s located in a prominent extremity and gets a lot of use, even in situations where it can be subjected to sudden forces.
Physical Therapy Before and After Elbow Surgery
Whether you’re a pitcher getting ready to undergo Tommy John surgery or you need an operation for bursitis on your elbow, your surgical team will probably recommend you undergo a physical therapy program both before and after you have your procedure. Since flexibility is paramount to elbow health, JAG PT’s pre- and post-operative physical therapy program focuses on not only using direct techniques to keep your elbow in the best shape, but also in educating you on the best stretches and exercises to continue rehabbing at home.
Common Elbow Injuries
The elbow is subject to any number of extreme forces during our daily activities. It can therefore become injured in a variety of ways. Here are some of the most common –
Commonly referred to as a biceps tear, a biceps tendon rupture occurs when one or more of the tendons in the upper arm above the elbow separate from the underlying muscle. The biceps change position within the arm when the tendons rupture, causing a swelling nicknamed “Popeye’s deformity” after the comic strip and cartoon character Popeye the Sailor. Persistent pain and weakness accompany a biceps tendon rupture, and physical therapy is effective in speeding the healing process, which normally occurs naturally but slowly over time.
The elbow joint features two epicondyles, or rounded protrusions, one on the inner and one on the outer side. Overuse of the tendons connected to the epicondyles can cause a painful, stiffening, and swollen condition called epicondylitis – the type that affects the outside of the elbow is known as tennis elbow, while that on the inside edge is called golfer’s elbow.
Repetitive motion, especially throwing a ball during sports practice or a game, can put excess strain on the elbow cartilage. Valgus extension overload is the term for this type of overuse injury, which can result in chronic cartilage damage and painful, tender bone spurs inside the elbow joint.
Physical Therapy Methods in NY, NJ, and PA
At JAG Physical Therapy, we’re some of the top elbow specialists in the region. Our treatment plans for elbow conditions are customized to your particular injury, recovery stage, and lifestyle. If you’re itching to get back on the field, our return-to-sport rehabilitation program can help you do so in a way that’s safe for your elbow joints. And we always use manual therapy, heat therapy, guided exercise, and more to make sure your elbow remains healthy and pain-free.