What Causes Elbow Pain?

What causes elbow pain? It’s a common question, and one that I field on a daily basis in the San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Center.

Questions such as these rarely have simple answers; the elbow is a complex joint with plenty of moving parts. Any issue of injury or inflammation within the joint can lead to pain – and, occasionally create a cascade of further injuries as the elbow’s natural motion becomes impaired.

Elbow pain requires a careful and considered differential diagnosis. This page offers a snapshot of what orthopedists such as myself tend to consider when confronted with a new case, including how to determine if it’s tennis elbow or something else:

Radial Tunnel Syndrome causes pain that is very similar to the symptoms of tennis elbow (Figure 2). The pain is usually distal to the lateral epicondyle and radiates down the forearm. If the symptoms of tennis elbow are not going away with treatment, rule out the possibility of radial tunnel.

Check out the full page, which comes stocked with useful images to help you diagram what’s happening in your elbow And when you’re ready to see an expert, contact the elbow pain doctor here.

What’s The Best Treatment for Tennis Elbow?

A recent New York Times article looked into the standard cortisone treatments for elbow pain and tennis elbow to explore just how effective they really are compared to placebos, and nothing at all.

As it happens, cortisone may cause more damage over the long term than it helps over the short term. This is because cortisone focuses on inflammation alone, which may not represent the root cause of the problem:

For decades, tennis elbow was thought to be caused by inflammation in the tissues around the joint. Newer science, however, including biopsies of the sore tissues, shows little inflammation, except in the very early stages of the injury. Instead, it is thought to involve degeneration of the tissues: If the joint is used repeatedly and strenuously, the body cannot repair any resulting minor damage before more damage occurs, and the tendons that hold the elbow together begin to fray and buckle.

If nothing else, studies such as this one remind us that we have much to learn about the issues and biology surrounding chronic pain.

If you are suffering from tennis elbow in San Diego and want to speak with an expert orthopedist who understands the limits of injections, you have come to the right place. Please reach out to us here today.

San Diego Orthopedic Surgeon

Using the Web to zero in on any medical specialist can be fraught and confusing, especially if you are looking for a San Diego orthopedic surgeon. The medical Web is a poorly organized mix of research and reviews, and too many people rely on cold information friend without surveying all their options first.

There is a better way, beyond reviews and recommendations, to locate an expert orthopedic surgeon: check the transcript. More specifically, look at each candidate’s bona fides – education, fellowships and faculty positions – to get a good overview of the most qualified and respected individuals in each field.

For instance:

Dr. Holland is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is a member of the California Medical Society as well as the San Diego County Medical Society, and has performed research in the fields of sports medicine and pediatric orthopaedics, and presented papers at a number of national and international meetings.

As an orthopedic expert, I focus on ailments including knee pain, elbow pain, shoulder pain, and a variety of pediatric orthopedic symptoms – all specialties born out my many years of training.

If you’d like to work with one of the best regarded orthopedic surgeons in Southern California, and the credentials suit what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact my offices today.

Tennis Elbow, Explained

Tennis elbow is a common diagnosis, especially for people whose lingering pain is associated with vigorous activity. But not every kind of elbow pain is tennis elbow, and not every case of tennis elbow arises from a rigorous day of athletics.

As this article lucidly explains, tennis elbow can result from a number of kinds of motion and impact. What they have in common is a specific etiology and location, namely the tendons of the elbow:

When forces are applied that exceed the limits of the stretch, a tear occurs. The tear may be a minor one; a Grade 1 strain where little collagen is torn and the body’s repair process rebuilds the damage without scarring. Or it could be a more major tear, where the healing process requires laying down new collagen fibers, building new bridges and forming new matrix molecules.

Whatever the severity of the injury, it’s essential to seek medical care from an orthopedic specialist.

Tennis elbow is one of the many elbow issues that I treat in my San Diego medical practice, along with painful conditions such as ulnar nerve impaction, cellulitis and infections. If you want the best approach for any type of elbow pain in San Diego, call my office today.