elbow-anatomy We rely on our arm day in and day out to perform many basic tasks.  We really don’t stop to think how much wear and tear, strain or pressure it endures on a daily basis until we experience an injury or pain.  To be more specific, what if you suffer an elbow injury and can”t bend or extend it like normal?  It would have a significant impact on your daily routine and possible limit your daily activities and function.

So it’s important to learn about elbow anatomy so if/when you experience an elbow injury, you know exactly what structures have been damaged or affected.

The elbow is known as a hinged joint.  It connects the upper arm to the forearm.  The elbow joint is made up of three bones: the humerus(upper arm bone), ulna and radius(lower arm bones).

If we take a look at the inside of the elbow, we have many flexor muscles that attach to the flexor tendons which attaches to the medial epicondylitis of the humerus bone.  Flexor muscles then run from the medial epicondyle down to the wrist.

When we look at how the outside of the elbow is constructed, the extensor muscles attach to the common extensor tendon which attaches to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus bone.  Extensor muscles/tendons then run from the lateral epicondyle down to the wrist.

When it comes to common elbow injuries, the majority are caused by overuse and repetitive movements.  They are sometimes called repetitive strain injuries.  When the extensor and flexor muscles of the forearm are overworked and overused, this puts extreme pressure on the common extensor and flexor tendons at their respective attachment points to the elbow.  As a result, they become inflamed and irritated which results in pain and discomfort near the elbow region.

Your body’s natural response to muscle and tendon damage is to try and repair it by laying down adhesive tissue called scar tissue which helps bind and repair the small micro tears.  But the problem with this is that it restricts the normal gliding motion of your tendons and soft tissues and restricts normal movement.

Besides the nagging and stubborn elbow pain and discomfort, you may also experience some of the following symptoms:

  • elbow stiffness and difficulty straightening your arm fully, especially in the morning
  • an increase in elbow pain when your perform twisting actions with your wrist and forearm(ie: using a screwdriver)
  • a decrease in grip strength
  • you drop or fumble things more often than before
  • pain that sometimes radiates down your forearm and into your wrist
  • an increase in elbow pain when you extend or flex your wrist
  • a burning sensation and tenderness on the outside of your elbow
  • an increase in upper forearm pain when you turn a doorknob, shake someone’s hand or grip a coffee mug

Any and all of the above symptoms are reported from individuals who suffer from the most common type of elbow injury called tennis elbow.  Now, you may be thinking that tennis elbow only affects tennis players.  False!  Over 95% of reported cases of tennis elbow each year come from non-tennis players.

If you would like to learn more about tennis elbow or know someone who is suffering from this terrible injury, simply click the button below or please forward this article on to them.

anatomy of the elbow

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