Elbow injuries and pain are common among athletes, from pitchers to swimmers. At MedStar Health, our experienced surgeons provide high-quality care for elbow pain and injuries, using physical therapy and other conservative treatment options as well as advanced surgeries, when necessary. Our team performs thousands of surgeries each year, and we pride ourselves on offering the least invasive options to allow our patients to recover quickly from surgery and return to their active lives faster. Our specialists will always encourage non-surgical options when possible and recommend surgery only when needed.

What are the causes?

Elbow pain is a symptom of a number of different injuries, many of which occur as the result of playing a sport. Some of the most common injuries include:

How are injuries diagnosed?

If you experience elbow pain that is severe or does not go away, it is important to speak with a specialist. MedStar Health is home to experts in a wide range of elbow conditions who have years of experience diagnosing and treating sports injuries. Your initial exam with one of our physicians will likely include the following:

  • Medical history evaluation – Your physician will discuss your medical history with you and any relevant prior elbow problems
  • Physical exam – Your doctor will evaluate the affected elbow and may ask you questions about where you are feeling pain or discomfort or how the injury first occurred
  • Imaging tests – Your orthopedist will also likely conduct imaging studies to rule out bone fractures and accurately diagnose your condition

Treatment

If you are experiencing a sports-related elbow joint injury or pain that is mild, one or more of the following conservative treatment options may be recommended:

  • Ice to decrease swelling
  • Pain medications
  • Avoiding activities that cause pain in the elbow
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
  • Physical therapy

If conservative treatments for elbow pain are unsuccessful, or if your condition is severe or recurring, our physicians at MedStar Health may recommend one of the following treatment options: