Three bones come together to make up the elbow joint (Figure 4). The humerus bone is in the upper part of the arm and attaches to the two bones of the forearm (ulna and radius). Each of these bones has a very distinct shape. Ligaments connect all three bones together. As muscles contract and relax, two unique motions can occur at the elbow:
- Bending occurs through a hinge joint that allows you to bend and straighten the elbow.
- Rotation occurs though a ball and socket joint that allows the hand to be rotated palm up and palm down.
Injuries and elbow dislocations can affect either of these motions.
Common injuries include Tennis Elbow which often presents with severe burning pain on the outside of the elbow, swelling which is often associated with Bursitis, Fractures of the arm or elbow, Throwing Injuries which often occur in young baseball players (Little League) and Ulnar Nerve Entrapment which occurs when one of the nerves in the arm becomes compressed resulting in a symptom of “falling asleep” in the ring finger.