elbow pain
elbow pain

Anatomy of the Elbow

The elbow is one of the most frequently-used joints in the human body. Due to the complex structure, it is susceptible to many different types of elbow pain. The elbow is composed of three bones: the humerus, the ulna, and the radius. The ends of these bones come together to form a hinged joint, and is padded by cartilage to allow smooth movement. This cartilage also allows the elbow to absorb a moderate amount of shock, protecting the bones of the arm from fractures. Inside the joint, there is a fluid-filled capsule, called the elbow bursa, that keeps the elbow lubricated. Along with the bones, there are two ligaments connected to the elbow that allow the joint to move– the medial collateral ligament and the lateral collateral ligament. These ligaments provide the joint stability by holding the ulna and the humerus together. The biceps and triceps tendons attach the arm muscles to the bones of the elbow. The muscles of the fingers are also connected near the elbow.Anatomy of the Elbow

What Causes Elbow Pain?

Elbow pain can be caused by a number of injuries and diseases of the elbow joint. Some examples of conditions that cause elbow pain include:

Symptoms of Typical Elbow Conditions

Because elbow pain can come from a number of causes, it can also be accompanied by a wide range of other symptoms. Depending on the cause of the pain, elbow conditions often also cause symptoms like:
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Weakness
  • Stiffness
  • Red or warm skin around the joint

Treatment Options

Treatment for elbow pain will depend on the condition you are diagnosed with. Once diagnosed, Dr. Donnelly will determine whether or not your elbow pain should be treated through surgical or non-surgical means.


Most elbow conditions are first treated through non-surgical means. Elbow pain can be treated non-surgically using any combination of the following methods:
  • Activity modification. Slowing down or stopping activities that involve painful movements.
  • A removable brace or splint.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications decrease inflammation and pain.
  • Physical therapy. Stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Injections may also be used.


Surgical treatments for elbow pain are prescribed on a case-by-case basis and should be discussed with an orthopedic elbow specialist like Dr. Donnelly.

Find Relief Today

Though many of the conditions that cause elbow pain can feel similar, an accurate diagnosis is essential to the proper treatment and resolution of persistent pain. Call Dr. Donnelly’s office today to make an appointment and get to the bottom of your elbow pain.