The elbow

The elbow joint is the articulation between the bottom end of the humerus (the arm bone) and the ulna and radius (the two forearm bones). It is a hinge joint and therefore bends and straightens in one plane. The joint is commonly injured when people fall on their outstretched hand or directly onto the tip of the elbow (the olecranon). In children the elbow tends to break just above the growing area at the bottom of the humerus, a so-called supracondylar fracture. Adults can break the bottom end of the arm bone, the head or neck of the radius bone or they can partially or fully dislocate the joint.

The elbow is vulnerable to overuse injuries causing micro-tears of the muscles that arise from the sides of the joint. This can lead to pain on the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow) or the inside of the elbow (medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow).