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The elbow joint connects three bones – the humerus, the ulna and the radius. Injuries to the elbow can be complex, ranging from fractures and dislocations to tears and strains. Arthritis can also affect the elbow, causing pain, limited mobility and inflammation.

Common Conditions


A common cause of elbow pain is tendinitis, which is inflammation or injury of the tendons. An injury to the tendons on the inside of the elbow is commonly known as tennis elbow. Golfers tend to injure or damage the tendons on the outer arm, also known as golfer’s elbow. Other activities that can lead to tendinitis over time might include: gardening, baseball, working with tools and other overuses of the elbow and wrist.

Tendinitis pain can be managed with rest, medication or physical therapy. However, for many who want to continue an active life, surgery is the best option. Your provider will help to determine the correct care plan to fit your needs.


Both osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear to a joint, and rheumatoid arthritis, caused by inflammation, can affect the elbow. Over time these conditions can cause severe pain, discomfort and reduced mobility. Treatments might include medication, physical therapy and lifestyle adjustment. In those suffering from chronic and severe arthritis, surgery might be the best option.


Bursitis is an inflammation under the skin near a joint that can cause pain, discomfort and swelling. This can be caused by a variety of factors, one being an increase in activity. For example, training for a marathon can sometimes cause bursitis. Surgery is rarely needed to treat bursitis. Your provider will recommend a treatment plan for you that might include ice, heat, rest and therapy.

Treatments Available

Altru Orthopedics & Sports Medicine offers a range of treatment options for the elbow.

Non-surgical treatments might include:

  • Medication
  • Physical Therapy
  • Lifestyle Modification
  • Rest or Limited Use

Depending on the severity of the injury or pain experienced, your provider might recommend surgery. Surgery might also be considered if your pain or injury is less severe, but you do not respond to non-surgical treatments. We offer arthroscopic surgery to treat many conditions of the elbow. This minimally invasive procedure allows for smaller incisions, with less swelling and pain post- procedure.

Procedures and Recovery

All elbow surgeries are performed at Altru Specialty Center, our specialized orthopedic hospital. When undergoing arthroscopic surgery, you can expect to leave the hospital the same day as your surgery. Patients can anticipate full recovery in 4-6 months with physical therapy. Your provider will work with you to determine your recovery plan.

If you are living with elbow pain, schedule an appointment with Altru Orthopedics & Sports Medicine by calling 701.732.7700 or through MyChart.