Elbow injuries in athletes. A review

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1995 Jan;(310):257-77.


Elbow injuries are becoming more common as increasing numbers of people participate in throwing and racquet sports. The understanding and treatment of elbow injuries is becoming more sophisticated in conjunction with better noninvasive and invasive diagnostic techniques. The majority of injuries to the elbow in the athlete are chronic, overuse injuries. These injuries are the result of repetitive intrinsic or extrinsic overload, or both, resulting in microrupture of soft tissue such as ligament or tendon. In children, apophyses, being the weakest link in the immature musculoskeletal system, are susceptible to stress injuries. Elbow injuries are most commonly caused by valgus stress, from throwing or axial compression, resulting in increased force absorbed by the medial elbow. With repetitive valgus stress, patients may develop chondromalacia, loose bodies in the posterior or lateral compartments, injury to the ulnar collateral ligament, myotendinous injury to the flexor-pronator muscle group, osteochondritis dissecans, or ulnar neuritis. The purpose of this paper is to (1) define the significance of elbow injuries in athletics, (2) review the anatomy and biomechanics of the elbow, and (3) discuss the prevention and treatment of elbow injuries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries* / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries* / therapy
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Braces
  • Elbow Injuries*
  • Humans
  • Protective Devices
  • Risk Factors