Recurrent and Chronic Elbow Instability

Home Services Recurrent and Chronic Elbow Instability

Elbow Conditions

Elbow Physicians

Brian J. Keener
Michael J. Bercik
Trevor G. Jackson

Recurrent or chronic elbow instability is characterized by repeated looseness of the elbow joint and a feeling that it may slip out of place.

The bones that form the elbow joint are held and supported by muscles and ligaments on the inside and outside of the elbow. Injuries to these ligaments cause elbow instability and dislocation of the joint.

Ligament injuries can be caused by an accident, by falling on an outstretched arm, or by repetitive overuse of the elbow as seen in sports that involve overhead arm movements, such as baseball and tennis. Symptoms include:

  • Pain with movement or throwing
  • Feeling of instability
  • Locking
  • Catching
  • Clicking

To diagnose the condition and determine the most effective treatment option, an upper extremity subspecialist at Lancaster Orthopedic Group will review your medical history, perform a detailed physical exam and recommend imaging studies, such as an X-ray or MRI.

Nonsurgical treatments include rest, modification of activities that aggravate the symptoms, bracing to stabilize the elbow, and anti-inflammatory medications for pain.

If the condition continues to recur or the chronic elbow instability is severe, surgery may be recommended to stabilize the joint by reconstructing or replacing the damaged ligaments with a tissue graft.

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