The elbow is complex and elbow pain can come from many areas. It’s hinge and pivot joint is made up of three bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), the radius (forearm bone on the thumb side), and the ulna (forearm bone on the pinky side). Our arm’s ability to bend and straighten is allowed by the hinge, while our lower arm’s ability to twist and rotate is engaged by the pivot part of our joint. Muscles, ligaments, and tendons hold the elbow joint together and prevent dislocation.
Articular cartilage covers the surfaces of the bone that form the elbow joint. It is a smooth substance that enables movement and protects the bones. Synovial membrane covers the remaining surfaces with its thin, smooth tissue inside the elbow joint. This membrane creates fluid that lubricates the cartilage and reduces friction as the arm bends or rotates. The ulnar nerves crosses the elbow joint and provides sensation to our ring finger and pinky finger.
Elbow care may involve different procedures, depending on the specific condition being treated. Recovery time and outcomes vary depending on the type of elbow surgery performed and the individual patient’s overall health and healing ability. Physical therapy and rehabilitation may be necessary to regain strength and range of motion in the affected elbow. In some cases, the most effective care, involves a collaborative effort from a team of primary doctors, physical therapists, and skilled orthopedic surgeons like Dr. Stowell.