Hyperextended Elbow

An elbow hyperextension injury occurs when the elbow bends backward beyond its normal range of motion. Injuries of this kind are often the result of significant force on the limb or elbow. Patients may experience pain in the joint, ligament, and bone.

What You Need to Know About a Hyperextended Elbow

What is a Hyperextended Elbow?

Your elbow bone relies on a complex network of ligaments and bone. When functioning normally, your elbow helps you pick up objects and move your arm.

A hyperextended elbow injury happens when the elbow is extended back beyond its normal range of motion. In some cases, the elbow may dislocate. Dislocation and fractures can also happen when the elbow is hyperextended.

Anyone can experience an elbow hyperextension injury, but athletes who participate in high-impact sports such as football, boxing, gymnastics, cheerleading, and wrestling experience them most often. Activities that require repetitive elbow strain — such as weightlifting, baseball, and yoga — can also lead to this injury.

Finding the best hyperextended elbow treatment starts with a visit to Resurgens Orthopaedics. Visit our expert physicians at one of our Metro Atlanta locations.

What Causes a Hyperextended Elbow?

A hyperextended elbow happens when a significant impact or force is exerted on the elbow. The injury is most common among athletes. Young children can also experience a hyperextended elbow after falling and landing on an outstretched arm.

Slippery or unstable surfaces may increase the chances of someone getting a hyperextended elbow. Other factors like pulling too hard on something with your hand or getting your arm yanked can also cause a hyperextended elbow.

Hyperextended Elbow Symptoms

Hyperextension injuries can be painful. Joints are sensitive areas. Even small movements after hyperextending your elbow can cause immediate, sharp pain. Depending on the nature of the injury, the pain can also be a dull ache.

People with dislocated or broken elbows may see the bulge where the bone is forced out of place. They may hear a popping sound when the elbow is hyperextended. The joint can also swell, and the skin in that area can turn red or bruised.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Swelling at the joint

  • Bruised skin

  • Weakness in the injured arm

  • Pain at the joint when trying to straighten the arm

  • Muscle spasms in the injured arm

  • Arm numbness

It is crucial to see a doctor if you experience hyperextended elbow symptoms. You may need immediate intervention if:

  • You cannot straighten your arm

  • There is a visible disfigurement to the joint

  • The bone has penetrated the skin

How is a Hyperextended Elbow Diagnosed?

Resurgens Orthopaedics' physicians will assess your medical history and conduct a medical exam to evaluate your injury. Your doctor may use non-invasive diagnostic tools to evaluate your injury and the severity of the damage, including:

  • X-rays to provide images of bones and joints.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) scan to produce high-detail images of your soft tissue.

These images will help your doctor diagnose your injury and create the best hyperextended elbow treatment plan for you.

Hyperextended Elbow Treatment

Hyperextended elbow treatment may include surgical and non-surgical options. Hyperextended elbow healing time varies from person to person. Your doctor will determine the severity of your hyperextended elbow and design the best plan for you.

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Rest and limited movement: Restricting your elbow use will give it a chance to heal. It may be necessary to avoid any activities that require elbow movement. An elbow brace may also help you resume your daily routine.

  • Ice therapy: icing the injured area can reduce swelling. Wrap the ice in a cloth and apply to the injury for 20 minutes, then remove for 20 minutes. Continue this cycle for the first week after the injury.

  • Compression and elevation: Wrap your elbow with an elastic bandage or compression sleeve. Compression will help limit the joint's movement and reduce swelling. Be sure the wrap is not so tight that it cuts off blood circulation or causes pain. Use cushions to keep your elbow elevated above your heart. Elevation may help reduce swelling and pain.

  • Anti-inflammatory medication: Medicines such as ibuprofen and aspirin can help reduce pain and inflammation. Be sure to consult with your doctor about the correct dosage.

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy exercises can help rebuild the strength in the muscles around the injured area. Your doctor will help you decide when this step is right for you.

Surgical Treatment

The damage to your bones, tendon, ligaments, nerves, or tissue may be significant enough to require surgery. You and your doctor will discuss the most effective type of hyperextended elbow treatment.

The post-surgery healing process may last weeks or months. You may need to restrict your elbow's movement with a brace. After the pain has decreased, physical therapy exercises can help you strengthen your muscles and regain mobility.

People across Georgia rely on Resurgens Orthopaedics to relieve their hyperextended elbow symptoms. Schedule an appointment with our experts now!

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