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Hyperextension will result from a forcing of the arm into and past the straightened position, in a fall onto the outstretched arm for example. Symptoms will include pain and swelling around the back of the elbow as well as the overstretching of the biceps tendon at the front of the elbow.
This injury will only occur as a result of an acute blow such as falling onto the arm from a height. Acute deformity is apparent as the ‘point’ of the elbow is moved upward and backward. Many soft tissues will also be injured in elbow dislocation such as ligaments on the inside and outside.
Olecranon Bursitis (‘Student’s Elbow’)
Olecranon bursitis is inflammation of the sac of fluid (bursa) that sits behind the elbow. This usually happens following repeated trauma to the back of the elbow and is also seen in people who repetitively rest their elbows on a hard surface – hence ‘students elbow’.
Symptoms include pain, inflammation and a large swelling on the back of the elbow. The swelling in the bursa can reach the size of a tennis ball.
Referral Of Pain From Cervical and Thoracic Spine
The outside of the elbow is a common place for pain to be referred to from the neck and upper back. Many chronic elbow problems will have a component that has been caused by referral from the neck or upper back. Symptoms such as pain and stiffness in the neck or upper back may or may not accompany the referred elbow symptoms.
Early Injury Management
For approximately the first 72 hours following an injury, the RICE regime should be followed to ensure control of inflammation and pain relief.
R - Rest
I – Ice
C - Compression
E – Elevation
Rest from aggravating activity.
Ice should be applied in the first 72 hours or when inflammation persists. Ice should be applied for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin, but through a wet towel or cloth.
Compression can be achieved with an elastic bandage.
Elevation is used to help swelling to return to the heart through the blood stream.
The injured area should be elevated above the level of the heart.
Strengthening programs should only be commenced when:
1. Wrist Extensor Stretch
2. Tricepts Stretch
Exercises should be 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.