Elbow Pain: When to See an Orthopaedic Surgeon

When it comes to chronic pain, it can be difficult to know when to seek treatment. Elbow pain is a common condition that people tend to brush off. When you get accustomed to coping with soreness and discomfort, you almost forget what it feels like to be pain-free.

Elbow pain can be caused by a number of different conditions and injuries. One-time injuries such as a dislocated elbow, fracture or a sprain are easier to diagnose. If you have sustained such an injury, you will likely seek treatment from an orthopaedic surgeon. But what about other conditions that do not have an easily identifiable source?

Chronic elbow issues are just as painful an debilitating as one-time injuries. Elbow pain related to diseases and wear and tear injuries often tend to get overlooked by the person experiencing the discomfort.

Diseases such as arthritis, lupus and gout can be a source of elbow pain. These diseases may lead to other symptoms as well.

Elbow pain can also result from wear and tear injuries. Tennis elbow, trapped nerves and bursitis are common over-use injuries that can create a significant amount of pain.

The fact that elbow pain can be related to a variety of issues makes it difficult to know when to seek treatment. An orthopaedic surgeon, especially one fellowship trained in shoulder and elbow issues, is best suited to assess and diagnose the cause of pain.

So how do you know when to seek treatment?

1. Does you elbow pain continuously interfere with daily activities due to an inability to bend your arm?

2. Have you tried treating your pain with rest and ice without any success?

3. Are you experiencing intense pain and swelling that has progressively worsened?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, seeking the advice of an orthopaedic surgeon could be beneficial.


Tennis Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Tennis injuries can sideline an athlete for an entire season if they are severe enough. As the weather gets warmer, players of all levels will be hitting the courts to get in a workout. Tennis is great exercise but can also lead to a variety of injuries. Taking precautions to avoid such injuries can help ensure a long, healthy tennis season this year.

There are a number of tennis injuries that players sustain while taking in a match. Tennis is a sport that engages all parts of your body. From your arms to your ankles, each play requires the work of several muscle groups and many joints.

Some of the most common tennis injuries include:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Tendinitis of the knee, wrist, shoulder and achilles
  • Jumper’s knee (patellar tendinitis)
  • Strains of the calf, abdominal muscles, groin, hamstrings
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Meniscus tear
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries
  • Back pain

Don’t let this extensive list of tennis injuries scare you from enjoying such a wonderful sport. While no amount of planning can fully protect you from injury, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent a number of these issues.

Preventing tennis injuries:

  • Stretch and warm up before playing a game.
  • Work with an instructor to learn proper form.
  • Practice a variety of swings to prevent overuse. Repetitive motion of any kind can lead to overuse injuries that could otherwise be avoided.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Take breaks. Fatigue is a leading cause of injury. As your body tires, you are less likely to be using proper form.
  • Use supportive footwear.
  • Physical conditioning and cross training in other sports can help strengthen your body and protect against certain injuries.

If you are suffering from one of the above tennis injuries, seek the advice of your doctor or orthopaedic surgeon. Continuing to play tennis with an untreated injury could possibly lead to something more serious.

Baseball Injuries: When to Get Treatment

Baseball injuries are an unfortunate part of America’s favorite pass time. Whether you are a professional athlete, little league slugger or a high school hitter, baseball injuries can be season ending. But don’t assume that an injury will end your season prematurely.

While baseball injuries can sideline an athlete, there are many injuries that can heal in plenty of time to finish out a season. The key to knowing how to recover from an injury is understanding the severity and complexity of the issue.

Here are some of the most common types of baseball injuries:

  • Damage to the ulnar collateral ligament
  • Shoulder instability or shoulder subluxation caused by a partial dislocation
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Medial collateral ligament sprain
  • Lateral epicondylitis (also known as tennis elbow) caused by over use
  • Medial epicondylitis (also known as golfers elbow) caused by over use or an acute injury

Prevention of injury is obviously the best way to ensure a successful, injury free season. However, some injuries are not preventable. Taking steps such as properly warming up and using appropriate protection is your first line of defense against baseball injuries. Further, proper training on technique will give you the best chance of avoiding injuries that occur with bad form. Nutrition and hydration are also very important in avoiding an injury. Eating foods rich in calcium will help build bone strength. Fueling up before practice and games can help prevent fatigue and unnecessary injuries.

If you do find yourself with a baseball injury this season, it is vital that you quickly identify if you need professional treatment. Consider the following when debating whether or not to seek a consultation from a medical doctor such as an orthopaedic surgeon:

  • Do you have moderate pain or weakness that has lasted more than two weeks despite the use of rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.)?
  • Do you have severe pain and/or swelling that has lasted more than 72 hours?
  • Do you have a loss of feeling or altered sensation in an injured area such as foot, hand, arm or leg?
  • Are you unable to put weight on your leg/foot after sustaining an injury?
  • Are you unable to carry out daily activities following an injury?

If you or a loved one have suffered a baseball injury, know that it is better to be safe than sorry. Whether your issue requires rest and physical therapy or a major surgery, it is better to consider all of your options. What might seem like a minor over use injury could be something more serious. Always consult a physician when in doubt.

Ski Injuries: Identifying and preventing common issues

Ski injuries plague thousands of winter sport enthusiasts every year. Whether you are a first timer or a seasoned veteran, a ski injury can put a major damper on your winter break plans.

Skis injuries range in severity depending on a variety of factors. Injuries to the knee, ankle, shoulder and arm are very common. No matter what your level of experience, it is important to be informed on injury prevention before you hit the slopes this season.

Common Types of Ski Injuries

Foot and Ankle

  • Lateral ankle ligament sprain
  • Ankle fracture
  • Fifth metatarsal fracture
  • Frostbite


  • Meniscus injuries
  • ACL and PCL tear or strains (anterior cruciate ligament and posterior cruciate ligament)
  • Medial collateral ligament injury

Hand and arm

  • Wrist sprain
  • Wrist tendonitis
  • Skier’s thumb
  • Finger fractures
  • Wrist fracture
  • Frostbite

Shoulder and elbow

  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Shoulder separation
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Shoulder fracture
  • Elbow fracture

Neck and Back

  • Neck strain
  • Whiplash
  • Herniated disk
  • Muscle strains of the back

Prevention of ski injuries can mean the difference between a great vacation and months of painful recovery. Weeks before you hit the slopes, it is important to make sure you are in good shape. Plan ahead with skiing conditioning exercises such as squats, agility drills and hill or stair running. Building up endurance is key for minimizing injuries that happen when your body is fatigued.

In addition to building strength and stamina, focus on building your core strength and flexibility. Improving your balance and posture will give you a good foundation for proper form on the slopes. Increasing flexibility will help your body respond well to the rigorous demands of skiing.

Another key to preventing injury is to take it slow. Even if you are trying to pack a lot of fun into just a few short days, do not overdo it. Plan a shorter day of skiing on your first day so you do not fatigue too quickly. If you do too much at first, you will be more sore and tight for the rest of your skiing days.

If you do get injured while skiing, be sure to allow your body a chance to heal before hitting the slopes again. What might start as a minor injury can quickly escalate if you try to push through the pain with further activity. Be sure to consult an orthopaedic surgeon if you do sustain a ski injury this winter.

Foods for Bone Health: Osteoporosis Prevention

When it comes to preventative health, one of the most effective tools you have is managing your diet. In addition to a maintaining regular exercise routine, developing a healthy meal plan is essential for preventing some of the most debilitating health conditions, including osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, the thinning of the bones caused by a decrease in bone mass, plagues men and women of many cultural backgrounds. However, women, specifically those entering menopause, are more likely to suffer from this affliction. Preventing osteoporosis with diet and exercise is key to avoiding many painful and limiting injuries. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent developing this bone condition, incorporating several foods into your daily meal routine can help lessen your chances of suffering from osteoporosis.

Preventing osteoporosis is one way to decrease your chances of suffering from an orthopaedic injury. Keeping your bones healthy and strong is not only a great way to avoid injury but is also helpful in healing quickly if you do experience a bone injury. From foot and ankle injuries to shoulder and elbow issues, your bone health is key for getting back to your normal lifestyle.

The main dietary defenses for preventing osteoporosis include: Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin D.

Foods for bone health:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Low-fat or non-fat yogurt
  • Low-fat or non-fat milk
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Oranges
  • Raisins
  • Artichokes
  • Tomatoes
  • Okra
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Egg yolks

Beyond adding healthy foods to your diet, it is important to also avoid certain elements for osteoporosis prevention. Try to minimize salt and caffeine as much as possible to avoid loss of bone mass.

Tennis Elbow: Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Tennis elbow, clinically known as lateral epicondylitis, is not always an athletic injury. Do not be fooled by the name. This painful issue plagues a variety of people, many of whom have never even picked up a racket.

Tennis elbow is a very common injury caused by overuse of your arm and hand muscles. The repetitive motion that tennis players employ can result in this condition. However, anyone that engages in a similar movement of the forearm can suffer from this injury.

Diagnosing Tennis Elbow:

Unless you are a trained medical professional, it is not a good idea to self-diagnose your symptoms. Seeking the opinion of an orthopaedic surgeon will ensure that you get the proper diagnosis and treatment. If you suffer from the following symptoms, you should consult your doctor:

  • Experiencing pain on the outside, lateral, area of the elbow.
  • Experiencing pain when lifting objects.
  • Experiencing pain when grasping or squeezing objects.
  • Experiencing pain when shaking hands

Treating Tennis Elbow:

Once you have been diagnosed with tennis elbow, the next step is alleviating the pain and healing the injury. Again, consult a physician about your injury to ensure you are addressing the correct problem. Some methods for treating tennis elbow include:

  • Rest your arm/forearm. This may seem simple but avoiding the repetitive motion that caused your injury will prevent further damage and allow the area to heal.
  • Ice the affected area. Never apply ice directly to the skin. Use a cold compress or ice pack to soothe the painful part of your arm.
  • Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDS, as directed on the bottle. You can also try Aleve or ibuprofen.
  • Physical therapy exercises may increase strength and alleviate symptoms.

Preventing Tennis Elbow:

If you have suffered from tennis elbow at some point or feel that you are at risk of this injury due to your activity, here are a few steps to avoid future symptoms:

  • Stretch before engaging in repetitive motion with your arm or forearm  before starting a new activity.
  • Take breaks as often as possible if you are doing an activity that requires repetitive motion of the arm.
  • Do strengthening exercises as recommended by a physician or physical therapist.
  • Cease or decrease activity at the first signs of injury.
  • Massage your arm and forearm often to gently work the muscles on the top of your forearm.

Work-related Injury:

For the recreational athlete, taking a break from activity to heal tennis elbow isn’t a terrible inconvenience. However, if your injury is work-related, your options for treatment may seem limited. Housekeepers, painters, mechanics and factory workers are just a handful of employed individuals that are not necessarily able to take a break and heal. If this is the case for you, make sure to see a board certified orthopaedic surgeon to assess all treatment options.