Elbow Hyperextension Injury Information

Elbow Hyperextension Injury Information

Elbow hyperextension injuries are common causes of injuries to the ligaments, cartilage, tendons, and other stabilizing structures within the elbow.

 

 

 

Elbow Hyperextension Injury

Anatomy Of The Elbow

The elbow joint is the junction of three bones - the humerus (upper arm bone) ulna (large forearm bone) and radius (smaller forearm bone). The elbow joint is anatomically separated into three different joints, humeroulnar joint, humeroradial joint, and proximal radioulnar joint. As a whole, the elbow joint allows for flexion and extension of the lower arm and rotation to pronation (hand down) and supination (hand up) positions. The olecranon process is the bony prominence that can be felt at the very tip of the elbow.

Articular cartilage is a white slippery structure that covers the ends of the humerus, radius, and ulna. It provides a smooth surface for motion and allows the joint surfaces to slide against each other without bone to bone friction.

There are three main ligaments that support the elbow joint by connecting one bone to another bone - the ulnar collateral ligament, the radial collateral ligament, and annular ligament. The ulnar collateral ligament is two triangle shaped bands, one anterior and one posterior. The bands arise from the medial epicondyle of the humerus bone and pass over the inside of the elbow joint, where the anterior band attaches to the top of the ulna bone and the posterior band attaches to the olecranon process. The radial collateral ligament is a much shorter and narrower band. It arises at the lateral epicondyle and runs to the annular ligament. The annular ligament is a strong band of fibers that circle the head of the radius bone.

Tendons attach muscle to bone. The biceps tendon attaches the biceps muscle to the radius bone. When the biceps muscle contracts, it pulls its end of the biceps tendon. Meanwhile, the other end of the biceps tendon is pulling the radius, thereby allowing the arm to bend from the elbow. If you tighten your biceps to make a muscle, you can feel the biceps tendon between the biceps muscle and the crease of the elbow. The other important tendon is the triceps tendon. It connects the triceps to the ulna bone and allows for straightening of the arm. The other main muscles involved in flexion and extension of the arm are the brachioradialis, brachialis, pronator teres, and extensor carpi radialis brevis.

How Does An Elbow Hyperextension Injury Occur?

An elbow hyperextension injury occurs when a force or pressure forces your elbow past its normal position and bends it backwards. The hyperextension may occur during sports, such as football, gymnastics, basketball, rugby, soccer, or martial arts; during a fall with an outstretched arm; or otherwise direct blow that forces the elbow backwards, such as during a car accident. The hyperextension places a sudden and forceful stress on the tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles (soft tissue surrounding the elbow). If the force of the hyperextension is stronger than the structure, it may cause inflammation and/or stretching or tearing (sprains and strains). Elbow dislocation is also frequently the result of an elbow hyperextension injury, and may occasionally be accompanied by an olecranon fracture.

What Are The Symptoms Of Elbow Hyperextension?

Injury is usually worse if the arm muscles are tense when the force from the injuring action causes the elbow to hyperextend. As mentioned above, a number of specific structures within the elbow may be injured during the hyperextension injury. Often the hyperextension injury will cause injury to multiple structures simultaneously. While each injured structure may present with slightly different symptoms, the general symptoms of a hyperextension injury are as follows:

* localized redness, heat, swelling, and pain
* localized bruising
* pain upon extension (straightening the elbow)
* the elbow joint may feel unstable
* range of motion may be limited
* arm strength may be limited

 

Strengthening Exercises

These Elbow Exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility.

Massage Treatment

These Elbow Massage Techniques are of great value in pain relief; circulation stimulation; dispersing blood and fluid accumulations; swelling reduction; and relaxing muscle spasms, especially when used alongside the Sinew Therapeutics liniments and soaks.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the elbow because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the injured elbow, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the injured elbow as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the elbow, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the elbow, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the elbow can strengthen and regain it's mobility.

 

ACUTE STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on your elbow to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the elbow. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. Massage your elbow with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

 

CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.


CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in your elbow that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your elbow may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. When you move your elbow you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the tendons and ligaments slipping very slightly in and out of their natural alignment indicating weakness and joint instability, causing chronic pain and a cycle of reinjury. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the elbow, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the tendons and ligaments can strengthen to restore stability.


CHRONIC STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your elbow with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. Sinew Injury Poultice can be used in-between applications.

2. Apply the Sinew Injury Poultice on your elbow to relieve residual pain and stiffness, significantly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and further promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Injury Poultice is particularly useful if your elbow is more painful in cold and damp weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.