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Elbow Tendinitis

Tendons are the tissues that attach your bones to your muscles. When muscles are flexed, tendons spring into action and help move your bones. Since we use our arms often, tendon injuries in the elbow happen frequently. Elbow tendinitis is the inflammation of the elbow tendon and can occur at any age, although it is more common among adults who are heavily involved in sports.

What causes Elbow Tendinitis?

Elbow tendinitis is an overuse injury that causes inflammation and pain. Soft tissue injuries of the elbow like tendinitis are often sporting- or work-related, as the repetition of the same activity does not allow sufficient healing time for the arm to recover between occurrences. Overuse puts strain on the elbow tendons, which can eventually rupture. Older people are also susceptible because the tendons tend to lose elasticity and become weaker with age.

How do you know you have Elbow Tendinitis?

Symptoms occur where the tendon attaches to the bone:

  • Pain, which increases in severity with movement
  • Swelling, heat, and redness
  • A feeling that the tendon is “grating” or “crackling”  or “creaking” as it moves; this happens because the tendon sheath has become thicker and inflamed
  • Formation of a lump along the tendon

How does OSI fix Elbow Tendinitis?

The board-certified specialists at OSI are experienced in advanced techniques for the treatment of elbow tendinitis. We listen, discuss your concerns, talk to you about your activities, and work with you to develop an effective treatment plan. Your OSI orthopedic specialists may recommend some or all of the following:

  • Physical exam: Your OSI doctor will ask about symptoms and carry out a physical examination of your elbow. 
  • X-rays: X-rays may identify calcium deposits around the tendon, helping to confirm the diagnosis.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Treatment of elbow tendinitis has two purposes: to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Your OSI orthopedic specialist may recommend one, or all, of the following:

  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol
  • Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen
  • Splinting of the affected joint
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy

Surgical Treatment

Tendinitis that is particularly persistent may cause significant damage to the tendon and possibly lead to tendon rupture, a condition more serious and one that may need to be addressed through surgery. Arthroscopy is a common procedure in which your OSI surgeon is highly skilled.