Patient Education: Diagnosing Elbow Pain

Diagnosing Elbow Pain

Your surgeon will evaluate your health history, perform a physical examination, and take x-rays to diagnose your elbow pain.

  • Medical history
    • Symptoms
    • Health
    • Activity
  • Exam affected joint
    • Range of motion tests
    • Joint-line tenderness
    • Joint deformities
  • X-rays

 

An x-ray will help your surgeon diagnose your elbow pain. On an x-ray, a healthy elbow joint appears as if there is a space between the bones in the joint. Although you cannot see the cartilage on an x-ray, in the healthy elbow, the cartilage is working to cushion and smooth the movement of the humerus (upper arm bone) against the ulna (forearm bone on the little finger side), and the radius (forearm bone on the thumb side). On the x-ray of an elbow with osteoarthritis, there is bone on bone contact because the cartilage between the humerus and the ulna (forearm bone on the little finger side), and the radius (forearm bone on the thumb side) has been worn away.

When non-surgical treatments such as diet, exercise, medications, supplements, and physical therapy fail, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend total elbow replacement.

You should discuss your condition and treatment options with your surgeon.

 

All patient education materials are provided by OrthoPatientEd.com and have been reviewed by our Advisory Board of leading Orthopedic Surgeons to ensure accuracy. All materials are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from your orthopedic surgeon. Any medical decisions should be made after consulting a qualified physician.
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