Every day, you bend and straighten your elbow dozens of times without giving it a second thought. For most people, it’s not until their elbow is injured that they realize how much they depend on the joint for even the simplest tasks.
Elbow injuries are widespread, affecting people of all ages, including both athletes and non-athletes. The good news: Today, there are various conservative treatments for treating elbow injuries without relying on surgery. And when surgery is the best option, today’s techniques are a lot less invasive, which means faster healing for you.
Top orthopedics and sports medicine doctor in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, J. Michael Bennett, MD, PA, is skilled in diagnosing and treating elbow injuries, including injuries from sports and other physical activities. His years of expertise in treating elbow problems means you can feel confident you’ll receive the best treatment for your specific needs.
Types of elbow injuries
No matter what type of injury you have, the goal is the same: to restore your joint function so you can get back to a normal quality of life. But to do that, Dr. Bennett needs to know what type of injury you have.
Like any joint, the elbow has multiple components, including bones, nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. An elbow injury can damage any of these components.
Many elbow injuries involve ligaments and tendons, fibrous tissue bands that provide the elbow with flexibility and range of motion. These injuries often occur due to repetitive use of the elbow or sometimes from overstraining the elbow during physical activity. Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are two common types of elbow injuries that involve tendons.
Elbow fractures can also occur, usually from a fall or other impact. Some injuries are due to degenerative changes or inflammation in the joint, like elbow arthritis and elbow bursitis.
Treating elbow injuries
During your initial visit, Dr. Bennett will examine your elbow and discuss your symptoms with you. He’ll perform a few range-of-motion exercises to evaluate how the joint functions, and he may order X-rays to see “inside” the joint.
Once Dr. Bennett evaluates your elbow, he’ll be able to determine the best course of treatment. Many patients recover well with nonsurgical treatment options, like:
- Over-the-counter medication for pain and inflammation
- Bracing to provide support for the joint
- Physical therapy to restore range of motion and strength
In most types of injuries, Dr. Bennett recommends trying nonsurgical options first, either singly or in combination, to see if they can provide relief. If these options aren’t effective or if your injury is more serious, he may recommend surgery to “fix” the joint and restore function.
Elbow surgery can be “divided” into two types: arthroscopic and open. Arthroscopic surgery uses tiny incisions and special instruments equipped with a tiny camera to perform the surgery. Open surgery uses larger incisions. The approach he chooses depends on the type and extent of the injury, the patient’s treatment goals and lifestyle, and other factors.
Dr. Bennett also offers Tenex Health TX® ultrasound treatment for elbow injuries involving scar tissue or tendon damage. Tenex uses precise ultrasound technology to locate specific areas of damage. Then Dr. Bennett uses a special instrument inserted through a tiny incision to break up and remove damaged tissue to relieve inflammation and pain.
The right treatment for optimal results
In addition to providing state-of-the-art treatment for elbow injuries, Dr. Bennett also makes it his goal to help patients understand the nature of their injury and their options for treating it. He and his team believe that patient education is critical in achieving the best results. Before prescribing any treatment, he’ll thoroughly discuss all your options and give you plenty of time to ask questions.
If you have elbow pain, stiffness, swelling, or other symptoms, don’t put off treatment. Call the office or use our online form to schedule a visit and get the care you need to relieve your symptoms and restore joint function.