The elbow consists of 3 bones coming together: the humerus (upper arm), the radius, and the ulna (both lower arm). The three bones all have their own distinct shapes that fit in to each other and are held together by ligaments. The joint is both a hinge joint and a ball and socket joint. Bending of the arm and rotation of the hand are all done through the elbow joint. Any kind of injury or dislocation can affect the motions of your arm or hands.

Common injuries of the elbow are: dislocations, bursitis, fractures, flexor tendonitis, ulnar collateral ligament injury, stress fractures, ulnar neuritis, and valgus extension overload.

Most elbow injuries are not serious and respond well to conservative treatment, such as rest, icing, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. More complex injuries may require surgical treatment if they do not improve with conservative treatments.

Most elbow surgeries are done arthroscopically, during which a small camera is inserted through a small incision around the elbow. The surgeon can then view the inside of the elbow and insert tiny instruments through another small incision to repair damaged ligaments or tissues.

Harvard University Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston Children's Hospital International Geriatric Fracture Society Dignity Health Banner Casa Grande Medical Center Rosalind Franklin University Maimonides Medical Center