Elbow injuries

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2002 Mar;14(2):160-7. doi: 10.1097/00002281-200203000-00013.


The elbow is a commonly injured joint, yet physicians may be less comfortable treating injuries to the elbow compared with knee and shoulder injuries. Common injuries involving the elbow are tendinosis, instability, tendon ruptures, osteochondritis dissecans, and fractures. Tendinosis is a common overuse injury and may occur on the lateral, medial, or infrequently, the posterior side of the elbow. Injury to the medial or lateral ulnar collateral ligaments may result in instability. Repetitive trauma from overuse is the most common etiologic factor in athletes. Distal biceps and triceps tendon injuries may result in elbow disability in active individuals. Partial tears are more difficult to diagnose than complete ruptures. Osteochondritis dissecans of capitellum affects adolescents involved in overhead throwing athletics. Fractures about the elbow most commonly involve the radial head in adults, and the distal humerus in children. Athletes are prone to elbow injuries resulting from both overuse and acute trauma. Our purpose is to describe the diagnosis and treatment of these common elbow injuries in athletes of all ages.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Elbow Joint / injuries*
  • Elbow Joint / pathology
  • Elbow Joint / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / etiology
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / therapy
  • Tennis Elbow / etiology
  • Tennis Elbow / physiopathology
  • Tennis Elbow / therapy