At Eclipse, we treat all types of elbow conditions. Some sample conditions are listed below. Even if your condition is not listed, reach out by phone or email and let's determine if we are a good fit for you!
The biceps are crucial for bending your elbow and lifting. They are also used in many sports including baseball and softball for throwing. Tendinitis or tendinopathy refers to irritation and breakdown of the tendon that connects muscle to bone. If a tendon is not strong enough to handle a load that is put on it, then damage can occur. Manual therapy including trigger point dry needling can be helpful to decrease irritation. Gradual loading and a return to throwing program are crucial for throwing athletes to return to their sport. Learn more about biceps tendonitis in our blog.
UCL Tear (Tommy John)
The Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) is located on the inside of your elbow. It connects your humerus and ulna, which are the two primary bones in your arm. This ligament can be damaged and torn, typically by throwing, but sometimes through trauma. The UCL is often referred to as the Tommy John ligament due to the pitcher who first had the surgery to repair it. Surgery and rehabilitation can last over a year following a full tear, but partial tears can be rehabilitated or treated with different surgical options that can speed return to the field. Manual therapy to regain motion is crucial along with strengthening, particularly of the biceps and forearm muscles that support the UCL. A return to throwing program is crucial to allow gradual loading. Check out our blog post on UCL repair surgery and how it is an exciting new alternative to traditional UCL reconstruction!
Elbow dislocations can happen, typically from falling on an outstretched arm. Dislocations are serious medical conditions and should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible because numerous nerves and blood vessels can be damaged by the dislocation. Physical therapy involves light manual therapy to regain range of motion with gradual loading of the surrounding tissues. It is important to work with a qualified professional because full range of motion of the elbow is essential for most activities and strength is also important for daily tasks.
Golfer's Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)
Medial epicondylitis refers to inflammation along the inside of your elbow, usually from repetitive activities. One of the most common mechanisms of injury is golf, and many refer to this condition as golfer's elbow. Typically, someone will not swing a golf club all winter and then go to the driving range and take 200 swings when their body is not ready for it. This aggravates the inner elbow and further golf can make symptoms worse. However, many people will take a break and then aggressively load again for a weekend tournament, which resets any progress. Manual therapy for the muscles that run into this area including trigger point dry needling are beneficial along with strengthening of the area to increase resiliency for repetitive activities such as golf.
Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint and the elbow can be a possible location. Arthritis can be a normal part of aging and is usually accompanied by other pathologies if pain or disability are present. It is important to decrease joint stress by making sure that other joints and muscles are moving as they should along with strengthening surrounding areas. Wear and tear at one segment is typically due to other segments not taking their share of the load, and sometimes gaining mobility elsewhere is all that is needed to resolve symptoms.
Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
Lateral epicondylitis is similar to medial epicondylitis, but it affects the outside of the elbow. It is also usually due to repetitive loading beyond the tissue's tolerance. Backhands in tennis are a frequent cause which led to the nickname. Typically, someone will go months without playing tennis and then try to play a few games and their body is not ready for it. Additionally, the muscles that run to your lateral epicondyle also affect grip, so gripping can be difficult. These also respond well to trigger point dry needling along with gradual loading. It is important to rule out neck or shoulder issues because pinched nerves can sometimes be the root cause of pain. Read more about tennis elbow here!
Little League Elbow
Little League elbow refers to irritation of the growth plate at the top of the ulna, usually due to throwing a baseball. When we are young and still growing, we have growth plates at the end of our longer bones like the ulna, these areas are weaker than the rest of the bone because they are generating new bone. If someone overuses their arm, the growth plate is typically the weakest point and will be damaged causing pain, loss of motion, and weakness. Physical therapy involves manual therapy for mobility, exercise progression for strengthening, and a well thought out out return to throwing program for gradual buildup. Read more about little league elbow in our blog here.
Elbow surgery is very intimidating. Rehabilitation after surgery can also be stressful, as you want to assure that the surgery went well. We have worked with hundreds of clients after elbow surgery so we are familiar with how the experience should progress. We are available to answer any questions, even when you do not have an appointment scheduled. We are also intimately familiar with healing timelines and can give you ideas of what your return to activity should look like. Read more about postoperative physical therapy in our blog.
Olecranon Stress Fracture
The olecranon is the tip of your elbow and it can suffer a stress fracture from repetitive use, typically from throwing. It is not completely understood what causes the fracture, but it could be from tension from the triceps or repeated compression from the throwing motion. Regardless, manual therapy is beneficial to decrease muscle guarding in the area and strengthening to better prepare for the stress of throwing. A gradual return to throwing program is crucial to ensure return to full activity. Read more about olecranon stress fractures in our blog post here.