The elbow joint is a complex and quite complicated structure. It is an anatomical connection between the bones of the forearm and the humerus. The elbow is responsible for straightening, bending, supination and pronation movements.

Elbow diagnosis

Treatment of diseases or injuries of the elbow joint begins with a medical consultation. The orthopedist conducts an interview and palpation with the patient. He may also order imaging tests – ultrasound, X-ray, CT or magnetic resonance imaging of the elbow. If the doctor suspects that the patient’s pain is caused by rheumatic changes or inflammation, he or she may order laboratory tests.

Elbow treatment methods

The elbow joint can be treated conservatively, using pharmacological treatment (painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs), or using appropriate rehabilitation methods. Intra-articular injections are also often recommended (e.g., intra-articular administration of hyaluronic acid). Sometimes regenerative medicine is also helpful (administration of platelet-rich plasma), which supports the healing of the damaged joint. If the patient only feels pain in the elbow, the doctor recommends rest and modification of the elbow’s motor activity in the first stage of treatment. In order to relieve the joint, the orthopedist may also wear an orthosis.

In most cases, in which there is serious and more extensive damage to the elbow joint, the only solution may be surgery, performed using a classic or minimally invasive technique. The least invasive procedure is elbow arthroscopy. It is most often performed in order to release the articular capsule (arthrolysis), remove loose bodies from the joint or bone spurs.

In the case of joint instability, ligament reconstructions are performed using own transplants or from a tissue bank.

If a patient has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the elbow, the surgeon performs endoprosthesoplasty – a procedure for inserting an artificial joint.

Elbow rehabilitation

Elbow rehabilitation is selected for each patient individually, depending on the injury or the specificity of the disease. The techniques used by physiotherapists improve the blood supply to the tendons, which in turn accelerates the healing process. The main element of the rehabilitation process is strengthening and stretching the muscles in the area of the elbow joint. This is a group of muscles that allow the upper limb to bend and straighten at the elbow. During rehabilitation, in order to strengthen the stabilization of the elbow, the physiotherapist recommends exercises of the biceps and triceps muscles, which reduces the risk of repeated injuries of the joint.


dr n. med. Tomasz Kowalski

Specjalista ortopedii i traumatologii narządu ruchu

Jestem Zastępcą Ordynatora Oddziału Ortopedii i Traumatologii Narządu Ruchu w Carolina Medical Center. Specjalizuję się w leczeniu schorzeń stawu barkowego, łokciowego oraz kolanowego. Wykonuję pełen zakres zabiegów operacyjnych włączając operacje artroskopowe, rekonstrukcje pourazowe oraz endoprotezoplastyki. Zajmuję się również leczeniem urazów narządu ruchu (złamań, zwichnięć, zerwań mięśni i ścięgien) u dzieci i dorosłych. Przyjmuję dzieci od 3 r.ż.

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Treatment methods: Elbow

  1. Elbow arthrolysis – arthroscopic / open
  2. Elbow arthroscopy
  3. Radial head replacement
  4. Elbow arthroplasty
  5. Decompression of the ulnar nerve – arthroscopic / open
  6. Decompression of the ulnar nerve with anterior transposition
  7. Reinsertion of the attachment of the distal biceps tendon
  8. Reinsertion of the attachment of the distal triceps
  9. Reconstruction of the tendon of the distal attachment of the biceps – old
  10. Stabilization of the elbow joint
  11. Proximal tenotomy of the wrist extensor attachment (tennis elbow)
  12. Proximal tenotomy of wrist flexor attachment (golfer’s elbow)
  13. Removal of the bursa of the elbow (bursectomy)
  14. Fixation of a fracture of the coronoid process
  15. Anastomosis of the distal end of the radius under arthroscopy
  16. Monteggio fracture
  17. Fracture of the elbow – plate / cerclage band
  18. Epiphysiolysis of the distal epiphysis of the humerus complex – open stabilization
  19. Epiphysiolysis of the head / fracture in the neck of the radius
  20. Simple epiphysiolysis of the distal epiphysis of the humerus – percutaneous K stabilization

Injuries and ailments: Elbow

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Student’s elbow
  • Ulnar nerve entrapment
  • Fractures of the head of the radial bone
  • Fracture of the ulna
  • Dislocations in the elbow joint
  • Injury of the peripheral attachment of the biceps tendon
  • Free bodies at the elbow joint