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Physiotherapy


Elbow and Forearm

The elbow joint consists of three bones. They are humerus, radius and ulna. The elbow joint is a hinge joint formed by the articulation between the lower end of humerus with the ulna (humero-ulnar joint) and with the head of radius (humero-radial joint).

Causes:

• Elbow pain may occur due to Elbow bone injuries, Fractures, Inflammation of lateral/medial epicondyle bone, Golf swing injuries, Tennis injuries, Olecranon bursitis, Ligament sprains, Repetitive strain injury, Overuse of the  hands, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Nerve entrapment, Radio humeral bursitis, Avulsion fracture.

Symptoms:

• Pain, Swelling and Tenderness/Soreness of the elbow joint.

• Pain especially when making a fist/opening of fingers. Elbow joint stiffness.

• Difficulty/Weak grip while grasping objects, lifting, opening door, stretching the arm etc.

• Slight S-shaped Deformity of upper arm, abnormal mobility and restricted movements.

• Decreased sensation near the arm, forearm, and wrist.

Diagnosis:

•    X ray , MRI(magnetic resonance imaging)

Treatment:

NOTE: The treatment to the fractures, severe pain and post-operative cases should be followed by the advice of the doctor.

• R I C E treatment program is to be followed for pain reduction.

  1. Rest the elbow for few days. Use of elbow casts/below-elbow splints/braces can be done.

  2. Ice application to the inflamed/redness area is to be done for 15-20 min with certain gap.

  3. Compression and Elevation helps reduce swelling and induce healing. Compression done by applying ACE bandage (not very tight).

• Analgesics, Anti-inflammatory drugs, Cortisone injections given under doctor’s supervision.

• Joint mobilization, Soft tissue massage, Electrotherapy modalities done by the physiotherapist.

• Stretching exercises ( to maintain flexibility of  movement)

  1. Forearm flexors stretch- Keep your arms straight, palms facing ceiling. Then push your palm down as much as possible till your comfort level.

  2. Forearm extensors stretch- Keep your arms straight, palms facing floor. Then push your palm down till your comfort level.

• Strengthening exercises

1. Wrist extensors- Stand/sit comfortably. Bend the elbow slightly and support wrist and hold the weight in hand palm facing floor and move up and down.

2. Wrist flexors- Stand/sit comfortably. Bend the elbow slightly and support wrist and hold the weight in hand palm facing ceiling and move up and down.

3. Wrist pronation and supination- Stand/sit comfortably. Place the elbow supported on a table, palm facing ceiling with weight and slowly turn the palm towards the floor.

4. Finger extension with rubber band, squeezing the ball with hand, Gripping exercises (holding objects and pressing).

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