Common Orthopaedic Elbow Diagnoses

Conditions

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting the ulnar nerve as it travels behind the “funny bone” of the elbow. It is the second most common entrapment neuropathy in the upper limb behind carpal tunnel syndrome. It occurs due to the ulna nerve becoming compressed as it travels in a tunnel formed by bone, ligaments and muscle layers behind the inside of the elbow. The trapped ulnar nerve has difficulty carrying the electrical signals that supply sensation to the fingers and the power to the the muscles in the hand.

Acute distal biceps tears often occur in men over the age of 40 years of age due to a forced extension of a bent elbow, such as trying to catch a falling heavy object. Patients often feel a pop in the elbow accompanied by pain and bruising in the upper arm close to the elbow.

Associated symptoms:

Ganglions are fluid filled cysts that arise from a joint or tendon.

Elbow osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease where the smooth cartilage covering the bone ends, wear out, causing pain and stiffness. It can affect younger patients where a previous traumatic injury can lead to either ligamentous instability, severe scarring in the joint or  cartilage injury and lead to progressive stiffness around the elbow which may or may not be accompanied by pain.

Tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis and is a chronic degenerative condition affecting the tendons on the outer part of the elbow. It is often caused by tendon overuse and aggravated by extending the wrist especially when the elbow is straight such as lifting bags with the palm facing downwards and in my experience is uncommonly seen in tennis players. The condition often starts with pain and tenderness over the outer bony part of the elbow and if  left untreated can develop into constant pain that radiates down the forearm.

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Dr Avanthi Mandaleson

Specialist Hand & Upper Limb Surgeon​
(BMedSci, MBBS, FRACS, FAOrthA)

For all appointments please call (03) 9456 9077