Hyperextended Elbow

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

In this article, you will learn about hyperextended elbow injuries, including their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. Whether you’re an athlete or a parent concerned about your child’s safety, understanding the risk factors and available treatments is crucial for managing this condition effectively.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a hyperextended elbow or seeking guidance on preventive measures, our team at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and receive personalized care from our experienced orthopedic specialists in Atlanta and Marietta, GA. Don’t let elbow injuries hinder your lifestyle—take proactive steps toward recovery with our expert assistance!

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What is a Hyperextended Elbow?

A hyperextended elbow occurs when your elbow bends backward beyond its normal range of motion. A hyperextended elbow injury can damage the ligaments and bones of your elbow. It may also cause a dislocated elbow.

What Causes a Hyperextended Elbow?

An elbow hyperextension injury occurs when the elbow joint bends backward past its normal range of motion. This can happen when a force is exerted on the arm, causing it to bend the wrong way. Common occurrences include contact sports, gymnastics, or weight lifting. It could also occur during a fall on an outstretched arm, causing your arm to bend the wrong way.

Who is at Risk?

Those at a higher risk of elbow hyperextension injuries include those who participate in the following activities:

  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Weight training
  • Martial Art
  • Yoga

Toddlers are also at a higher risk because their bones are not yet fully developed. They may get a hyperextension injury when they:

  • Break their fall using their hands
  • Roll over awkwardly
  • Swing by their hands

Hyperextended Elbow Symptoms

The symptoms of a hyperextended elbow will depend on the severity of the injured elbow. Symptoms may include the following:

  • A popping sound as the injury occurs
  • Dull to sharp pain as you bend your elbow
  • Swelling around your elbow
  • Stiffness on the elbow joint
  • Elbow deformity
  • Redness
  • Loss of feeling due to constricted nerves
  • Muscle spasms in the biceps when straightening your arm
  • Loss of strength in your elbow and arm

How is a Hyperextended Elbow Diagnosed?

If you suspect you have hyperextension injury of the elbow, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history. The doctor may order imaging tests to visualize the structures in your elbow. An X-ray will show any damage to the bones, including fractures. An MRI scan can show damage to soft tissues.

A proper diagnosis is very useful in determining where the damage is so that the right treatment can be prescribed.

Hyperextended Elbow Treatment

Treatment for a hyperextended elbow will depend on the severity of the condition and what other structures were damaged. Many hyperextended elbows can be treated with non-surgical treatments.

Non-surgical treatments for a hyperextended elbow include the following RICE method:

  • Rest: This may involve immobilizing the arm with an elbow brace. You would also stop any activity using your elbow to prevent further damage.
  • Ice: An ice pack can be applied to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Compression: You can apply pressure to the injured area using an elastic bandage. This also can help reduce swelling.
  • Elevation. Raising your injured arm above your heart level helps to reduce pain, swelling, and throbbing sensations.

In addition, you may take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

As soon as the injury has healed and you no longer feel elbow pain, you may undergo physical therapy. A sports medicine doctor or physical therapist can teach you how to do exercises that will strengthen the muscles around your elbow and help the ligaments continue to heal.

Surgical treatments may be needed if you have torn ligaments or muscles or have nerve damage. Surgery can also help with chronic elbow instability. Surgical options include open elbow surgery and arthroscopic elbow surgery.

During open elbow surgery, your surgeon will make an incision in your elbow to access damaged ligaments. They will usually reattach them to the bone using sutures or anchors.

During arthroscopic elbow surgery, the incisions are a lot smaller. The surgeon will use a small camera to see the damaged ligaments and reattach the ligaments using tiny instruments.

Recovery from elbow surgery may take several weeks or months. An elbow brace will keep the elbow in position while it heals. Physical therapy during recovery will help strengthen the muscles and ligaments surrounding the elbow.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

A hyperextended elbow can be a painful condition. However, with the right treatment and guidance, you can regain strength and mobility in your elbow joint. Whether you opt for non-surgical methods or require surgical intervention, our team at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow is dedicated to providing comprehensive care tailored to your needs.

Don’t let elbow injuries hold you back from enjoying your daily activities. Take the first step towards recovery by scheduling your appointment with us in Marietta or Atlanta, GA today!

Medically reviewed by

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Plastic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon