Elbow Pain and Injuries – MU Health Care

Our orthopedic specialists offer surgical and non-surgical options to reduce or eliminate elbow pain and injury. Our surgeons are leaders in minimally invasive procedures that can get you back to normal activities faster.

As experts in the diagnosis and treatment of elbow disorders, MU Health Care’s orthopedic specialists can help you get relief from elbow pain. Our experts are often called upon by other physicians to address the most complex elbow problems.

We can help you find out what’s causing your elbow pain and connect you with the latest research and treatment options.

If you are looking for relief for your elbow pain, call us at 573-882-BONE (2663) to schedule an appointment today.

Causes of elbow pain

Elbow pain may be the result of a fall, previous surgery, or an unknown condition. Whatever the cause, our doctors will help you find the cause of your pain.

Causes of elbow pain include:

  • Arthritis
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Sprained elbow
  • Distal biceps tendon injury
  • Elbow instability
  • Elbow stiffness
  • Fractures
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Repetitive stress injury
  • Tendinitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Throwing injuries
  • Triceps tendon injury
  • Injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).

Diagnosing elbow pain

Our doctors will perform a physical exam to look for injuries that may be causing elbow pain. They will also ask you questions about the nature of your pain.

For example, your doctor may ask you if your elbow hurts more if you bend or straighten it, if your elbow hurts when you lift or hold things, or if it causes pain while you work.

Knowing which movements and activities make your elbow hurt will help your doctor diagnose the cause of your elbow pain.

Your doctor may also order tests or images to get a better look at your elbow and help you develop a treatment plan.

Elbow pain treatment at MU Health Care

Your treatment plan will be centered around your personal goals. Your doctor will go through different options to help you manage your pain and any related elbow conditions. Together, you’ll choose a plan that gets you back to normal activities.

Non-surgical treatment of elbow pain

Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following non-surgical treatment options:

Elbow injury rest

In some cases, your doctor will ask you to reduce or stop moving your elbow to give it time to heal. Your doctor may provide a splint or brace to help support the elbow. Applying ice and heat during this time can help reduce pain.


Certain medications can be injected into the joint to reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor will tell you which one is best for you.

Medicines by mouth

Medicines can help manage elbow pain, swelling, and inflammation. For example, your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for elbow pain.


Your doctor may recommend physical therapy. During therapy, you’ll do exercises and stretches that improve flexibility and strength.

Preventing injuries

Your doctor or therapist may recommend changes to your desk or keyboard to avoid straining or putting pressure on a nerve. These steps can help you avoid recurrence or worsening of the pain.

Surgical treatment of elbow pain

If non-surgical options do not address your pain or injury, MU Health has the highest level of care in the region for elbow surgery.

Our surgeons are industry leaders and experts in minimally invasive elbow procedures. This means your surgeon will use the latest techniques, so you can expect a shorter surgery and a faster recovery.

Our expert surgeons specialize in complex cases and typically perform the following procedures:

  • Arthroscopic or open contracture release for a stiff elbow
  • Arthroscopic debridement for arthritic elbow
  • Ligament repair and reconstruction for unstable elbow
  • Surgical debridement for tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow
  • Fixation of a broken and dislocated elbow
  • Elbow replacement

In addition, our health system is collaborative in all specialties. You will have a seamless experience –– from your initial surgical consultation to your post-op rehabilitation appointments.

Monitoring progress

Your doctor will monitor your progress over time to make sure your elbow is healing properly. They will also ask if your pain is getting better or better.

Our doctors will communicate with your physical therapist and other members of your health care team throughout the process.

Expertise in treating elbow pain and injuries

At MU Health, we have the highest level of surgical expertise in the field, providing you with the best care close to home. That’s why doctors in the region continue to send us their most complex cases for referral and review.

Our elbow surgeons perform more complex elbow surgeries than anyone else in the area. They can assess why a previous surgery may not have adequately addressed your pain and perform revision surgery to bring you relief.

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