There are many different types of elbow injuries that do not need surgery and the best way to know is by visiting your local physician. The most common elbow injuries that are seen but that do not require operative surgery are pains that are felt outside of the elbow. This is called lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow. The other common elbow injury is the medial epicondylitis also known as golfer’s elbow. For these injuries, the best way to be treated is through physical therapy, which does not require operative surgery. Alongside anti-inflammatories, a brace, and injections. Do I need an elbow operation? This is a question you may be able to answer with the information provided below.

Broken Elbow

A good way to avoid operative surgery to the elbow is by recognizing early on when there is a fracture that needs to be treated immediately. The elbow is comprised of 3 bones. There is the most well-known bone that goes by the name of humerus, which is a single bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow. Then there is the radius and ulna, the bones of the forearm that run from the wrist to the elbow. The ligaments, muscles, and tendons are what stabilize and allow joint movement to the elbow.

An elbow that is unbroken can flex, bend, extend, straighten, and rotate by turning the palm up and down. If you find yourself not being able to move in those motions normally, there is a dislocation or fracture to the bone. Some of the most prominent symptoms of a broken elbow are:

– swelling of the elbow or near the elbow
– deformity of the elbow or near the elbow
– not being able to move elbow through its complete range of motion
– discoloration, bruising, tenderness, or redness

With a fractured elbow, if the person is unable to touch their fingers to their shoulders or cannot fully straighten their arm, then it might be a supracondylar fracture. A fractured elbow also has symptoms of numbness or a cooling sensation on the fingers, forearm, or hand due to serious damage to one of the three major nerves; median, radial, and ulnar that travel through the elbow.

Knowing the symptoms of an elbow injury allows for determination of making a trip to the doctor’s or seeking immediate emergency attention. If there is only mild swelling and no bruising or loss of feeling, then emergency attention may not be needed. However, a fracture to the elbow can lead to serious complications in the future with permanent injury and disability, so is important to know the symptoms and seek the necessary medical attention.

If surgery is needed for the elbow, that is because there might be an open wound that needs operation. In such a case, if the bones of the elbow are protruding outside of the skin, the only way to treat the fracture is through operative surgery. Generally, a surgeon puts the bones back in place and is thoroughly cleaned in order to avoid infections. Without surgery in those certain situations, there can be permanent nerve damage.