Home / Conditions Treated / Elbow and Forearm
ELBOW

Anatomy

The elbow and forearm form a functional unit whose primary role is to accurately position the hand in space. View Page 

Elbow Contusion

An elbow contusion results from blunt direct trauma and produces muscle strains and ligament sprains. View Page  

Ligament Tears and Elbow Fractures

Fractures about the elbow are the result of high energy injuries. View Page 

Forearm Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome in all extremities is an orthopedic emergency. View Page 

Elbow/Forearm Wounds/Amputations

Wounds occurring in the forearm and elbow must be treated as an emergency because the risk of infection if left open increases about 7 hours after an injury has occurred. View Page 

Elbow Arthritis

Arthritis in the elbow can occur after an injury (post-traumatic arthritis), congenital lack of blood supply to the bone causing flaking off of the cartilage called Osteochondritis Dessicans. View Page 

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is the compression of the ulnar nerve at the level of the elbow. View Page 

Pronator Syndrome

Pronator syndrome is the compression of the median nerve around the elbow and palmar side of the forearm. Because it is the same nerve that causes carpal tunnel syndrome, there is overlap in the symptoms making the diagnosis difficult, at times. View Page 

RTS & PIN Palsy

Radial tunnel syndrome and posterior Interosseous Nerve palsy are both a result of compression of the Posterior interosseous nerve with a more severe compression occurring in posterior interosseous nerve palsy. View Page 

Lateral Epicondylitis, Medial epicondylitis, Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture

Lateral epicondyltis also called tennis elbow and medial epicondylitis called golfers elbow is a condition affecting the forearm muscles’ on the humeral bone at the elbow called the lateral and medial epicondylitis respectively. View Page 

Elbow Stiffness

The cause of a stiff elbow is either at the bony level or the collagen capsule/ligament level or both. View Page 

Elbow and Forearm Infections

The elbow, like the shoulder is well perfused with ample blood supply allowing for circulating white blood cells to offer excellent protection against infection and, consequently an elbow infection is uncommon. View Page 

Elbow Tumors

Tumors are divided into benign and malignant types. A benign tumor is an abnormal growth of a particular cell type presenting as a mass. View Page 

ELBOW AND FOREARM…

The elbow is considered the most important single joint of the upper limb, covering 130 degrees of the functional space used in daily activities.

Functional space is defined as the space directly in front of a persons body, below eye level and above the belly button. Because the elbow joint covers the entire functional space by virtue of its arc of motion, there has never been a satisfactory position to fuse an elbow joint if it were ever destroyed by injury or disease.

The elbow consists of three main layers:

  • Bones
  • Ligaments
  • Muscles

 

ElbowForearm_joint
Elbow & Forearm Elbow Joint Front View & Side View

The bones are the first layer of the elbow and forearm.

Three bones unite to form the elbow joint:

  • Lower end of the humerus (arm bone)
  • Proximal end of the radius (forearm bone)
  • Proximal end of the ulna (forearm bone)

These three bones allow: 

  • The elbow to bend (flex) and straighten (extend) in a hinged type motion
  • The forearm to rotate the hand in a palm up (supination) and palm down position (pronation).

The joint surfaces of the elbow are covered by hyaline cartilage forming a cushioned layer allowing for smooth gliding and painless elbow motion.

ElbowForearm_ligament

Elbow & Forearm Ligament LayerElbow Joint Ligament Layer

 

Lateral Elbow Ligament

Lateral Elbow Ligament View Medial Elbow Ligament View

The second layer in the elbow and forearm is the capsular ligament layer made up of collagen tissue. These ligaments provide passive stability to the elbow joint keeping the humerus, radius and ulna together, allowing them to function as a unit.

The collagen tissue forming the elbow joint capsule is normally very thin except on the inside (medial) and outside (lateral) sides of the elbow where thickenings in the collagen substance form the ligaments of the elbow.

 

Foerarm Flexor Compartment

Foerarm Flexor CompartmentForearm Flexor & Mobile Wad Compartments

 

Elbow Flexor Muscles

Elbow Flexor Muscles Elbow Extensor Muscles

The third layer of the elbow and forearm is the muscle layer. It is formed by the various muscle groups passing through the elbow and forearm.

These muscles either originate or end in the elbow and forearm. In the back of the arm this is the triceps muscle. In the back of the arm this is the brachialis and biceps muscles.

The forearm muscles crossing the elbow joint are divided into three compartments:

  1. Extensor compartment
  2. Flexor compartment
  3. The mobile wad of Henry compartment.

Each compartment contains several muscles working to move the elbow, forearm, wrist and hand in specific directions.

The median, ulnar, and radial nerves pass through the elbow and forearm within the muscle layers and innervate the muscles within these compartments as well as the muscles of the hand.