You are here

At Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center, our specialty-trained elbow doctors are recognized experts in providing evaluation and treatment for a variety of elbow injuries and conditions.

Pain or discomfort in your elbow can sometimes prove debilitating. It limits your range of motion and makes it challenging to perform even simple, everyday tasks. Elbow pain can even point to a much bigger, underlying issue in certain cases, including a broken bone or multiple fractures, arthritis, or problems involving the shoulder or wrist.

If you experience pain in your elbow, we recommend making an appointment with a doctor who can talk with you about both elbow surgery as well as nonsurgical interventions.

What Do Elbow Doctors Treat?

There are a number of conditions or injuries that can contribute to pain in your elbow. Sometimes, elbow pain stems from a sports-related injury or a household accident. In other instances, it may be due to a complication of a pre-existing medical condition. Some of the most common conditions treated by elbow surgeons include:

  • Arthritis
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Fractures, or broken bones
  • Problems with the tendons or ligaments
  • Tennis elbow

When Should You See an Elbow Doctor?

It can be challenging to know when to seek care from an elbow doctor or when to consider the prospect of surgery. We recommend seeing an orthopedic specialist if you exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • A visible deformity or protruding arm bone
  • An injury that causes swelling or redness in your elbow
  • Chronic elbow pain or shoulder pain that prevents you from doing your daily activities
  • Numbness, tingling, or a pins-and-needles feeling
  • Pain along the humerus (upper arm bone) from the shoulder to the elbow

Additionally, if you have pain in your elbow that does not respond to home treatments after two weeks, we recommend making an appointment with an elbow specialist.

What Treatments Are Available for Pain in the Elbow?

When you visit with an elbow specialist, you'll receive a physical evaluation to determine the root of your problem, which may involve the use of imaging, such as X-rays.

From there, your doctor will be able to recommend the best course of treatment. In some cases, nonsurgical options may be available, including exercise programs, physical therapy, or the use of a splint.

In other instances, however, it may be necessary to meet with a surgeon to discuss the possibility of elbow surgery, including cubital tunnel release, arthroscopic surgery, or other surgical methods.

What Is the Recovery Time for Elbow Surgery?

When you have elbow surgery, you should anticipate a recovery time of several months. Typically, it takes three to six months for all pain, swelling, and discomfort to subside, though medications and physical therapy both expedite the process and minimize the pain. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities within two to six weeks.

Physical therapy and strength training are recommended for roughly one year following your surgery, as they will help ensure proper healing.

Do You Need Help With an Elbow Injury?

If pain in your elbow joint prevents you from doing your everyday activities, it's time to learn more about the orthopedic solutions that are available to you, surgical and otherwise. Make an appointment to speak with an orthopedic specialist today and learn more about the treatment options.

The Region's Most Comprehensive Elbow Care

At the Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center, our experienced doctors and staff are proud to offer exceptional orthopedic care to people throughout the communities of northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Our doctors are available at our office in St. Joseph, Missouri, as well as at the Northwest Medical Center in Albany, Missouri, the Wright Memorial Hospital in Trenton, Missouri, the Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and the Hiawatha Community Hospital in Hiawatha, Kansas. 

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Daniel Smith, Dr. Corey Trease, and Dr. Brian Duncan, have years of experience in treating patients with a variety of elbow injuries or conditions. Our orthopedic elbow surgeons have the knowledge and skills to perform a thorough evaluation and provide an accurate diagnosis and viable treatment options. Conservative methods will always be recommended first, but there are some cases when surgery is required to help eliminate pain and restore proper function.

If an elbow injury or condition is keeping you from living the life you love, schedule an appointment with one of our specialty-trained elbow surgeons by requesting an appointment online or calling (816) 233-9888.

For those urgent injuries that require immediate attention and can't wait for an appointment, visit our OSMC Today Walk-In Clinic.