Book Online

Elbow Sports Injury Specialist in Atlanta, GA

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

Weekly sports are great for your health and exercise, but the increased activity may leave you with the occasional injury in your quest for fitness. Sports open us up to the possibility of injury, and even the most gentle exercises can wear on our bodies over time.
AdobeStock_451035542 1 (2) (2)

Elbow injuries are one of the most common sports injuries seen. Sports with repetitive movements or requiring reaching or throwing overhead are strenuous on the elbow and can result in an overuse injury.

It doesn’t help that elbows have little muscle to protect the bone, making them more susceptible to knocks or bruises. 

If you’re suffering from an elbow sports injury, our team at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow will work to help you find a solution. 

Our specialists will craft the least invasive treatment plan possible to treat your ailing elbow. Contact us at one of our clinics located in Atlanta and Marietta, GA, to schedule a consultation today. 

What Elbow Sports Injuries Might I Suffer?

Many elbow injuries that occur while playing sports are due to overuse or repetition. The following are some of the most common elbow injuries in sports and the treatment options available.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is often a result of repetitive movement. The name originates from the motion of swinging a tennis racket because tennis players and other racket-wielding athletes often experience this injury. 

Thankfully, it’s rare for people with tennis elbow to need surgery. Treatment includes bracing, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, and physical therapy. Extreme cases may require corticosteroid injections or surgery. 

Symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Sharp or dull pain in the elbow
  • Pain that begins in the elbow and travels to the forearm
  • Difficulty grasping things
  • Tenderness in the elbow and forearm area

 

Golfer’s Elbow

The scientific name for golfer’s elbow is medial epicondylitis, also known as pitcher’s elbow because the injury occurs with overuse of the elbow’s flexor tendon. 

The swinging motion of golfing or throwing a ball engages this tendon. When the tendon is in this repetitive use, it develops microtears that stop healing over time. 

Treatment for golfer’s elbow begins with resting the joint, stretches, anti-inflammatory medications, and possible physical therapy. More invasive treatment is occasionally necessary. 

Symptoms of golfer’s elbow include:

  • Pain in the inner elbow area
  • Sharp pain in the forearm
  • Stiff elbow joint
  • Muscle weakness in the affected arm

 

Distal Biceps or Triceps Rupture

The biceps and triceps tendons in your upper arm attach from your shoulder down to your elbow. Strains near the elbows can lead to ruptures of the distal biceps or triceps. These ruptures tend to occur more frequently in the dominant arm. 

Sports elbow Injuries of this type are usually associated with weightlifting, wrestling, or other intensive physical sports.

Treatment for distal triceps or biceps rupture depends on the severity. If the rupture is complete, it will need surgical repair. 

Incomplete ruptures may heal with a treatment plan of bracing, medicine, physical therapy, and application of heat and cold to soothe. 

Symptoms of distal biceps and triceps rupture include:

  • Pain flexing or extending the elbow
  • Swelling and deformity at the elbow joint
  • Visible bruising at the elbow
  • Reduced range of motion in the arm

 

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Compression or irritation of the ulnar nerve inside of the elbow is the cause of cubital tunnel syndrome. 

Elbow sports injuries like this are most commonly related to overuse, and sports that require frequent repetitive movement like throwing or swinging contribute to cubital tunnel syndrome. 

Treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome focuses more on rest, stopping the activity aggravating the area, and rehabilitation. 

Splints worn at night can reduce movement, and elbow pads for hard surfaces may help alleviate symptoms. Surgery is sometimes needed. 

Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome:

  • Pain from inside of the elbow joint
  • Tingling in hand and fingers
  • Loss of feeling in the hand
  • Muscle weakness in the arm

 

Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury

This form of elbow injury commonly affects throwers. The damage of this injury can range from a minor tear to a complete ligament rupture. Treatments for a UCL injury include rest, ice, medications, physical therapy, and possibly Tommy John surgery.

Symptoms of a UCL Injury include:

  • Elbow pain/tenderness
  • Decreased throwing speed
  • Tingling/numbness in your ring and pinky fingers. (This sensation or lack of may mean your ulnar nerve has also been pinched or injured)
  • Clumsy/weak hand grip

 

What Treatments Are Available for Sports-Related Elbow Injuries?

Treatments for elbow sports injuries depend on the type and severity of the injury. For less severe injuries, treatment begins with noninvasive techniques. 

Immobilizing the elbow is common, followed by NSAID medication, and your doctor may recommend physical therapy.

Treatments may progress to corticosteroid injections for more severe elbow sports injuries to reduce inflammation. Complete tendon ruptures may require surgical repair to restore function. 

If surgery is necessary, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands with the surgeons and therapists at Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow.

Tommy John Surgery and the Overhead Athlete

Repetitive throwing or pitching can damage the ligament on the inside of the elbow or injure the cartilage in the joint. Our surgeons are experienced in the expert care of these and any other sports-related injuries to your elbow. 

Tommy John surgery involves repairing and reconstructing the ligament on the inside of your elbow. It is the most frequent elbow injury operation in baseball pitchers who have damaged this ligament.

Your surgery and postoperative rehabilitation program will be coordinated by your surgeon to get you back in the game as soon as possible.

Contact Our Elbow Sports Injury Specialists Today

Elbow injuries can develop into chronic problems if left untreated, and pain from your injury may begin to impact your quality of life. If you or someone you know suffers from a sports-related elbow injury, contact Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow. 

Our specialists at our Atlanta and Marietta, GA locations are ready to help you, so call today or book an appointment online.

Medically reviewed by

Randall Alexander, MD