Explore Elbow Surgery

Common Elbow Problems and Treatments


Elbow trauma includes broken bones, dislocated joints, nerve injuries, tendon injuries, and damage to the skin and other soft tissues. Massachusetts General Hospital helped pioneer the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of many difficult elbow injuries and their complications. Elbow injuries can be challenging, and our surgeons are often asked by other orthopedists to help with difficult cases.


Some elbow problems such as cartilage injuries, stiffness, and arthritis can be treated arthroscopically. Arthroscopy utilizes a camera to visualize the joint so some surgeries can be treated with smaller incisions. In some cases, this can help speed a patient’s recovery.

Tendon Problems

Tendon problems of the elbow are often described as tendinitis, golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, tendinosis and tendinopathy. Mass General offers a variety of treatments for these problems that can range from therapy to injections to surgery.

Elbow Arthritis

Arthritis occurs when the cartilage in a joint is lost. This can be the result of trauma, infections, autoimmune problems like rheumatoid arthritis, heavy use over time, or can spontaneously occur. Arthritis can sometimes be treated with surgery. Sometimes a clean out with an arthroscope is helpful. Healthy active people with stiff arthritic elbows can benefit from interposition arthroplasty which involves covering the arthritic bone surfaces with another tissue. Less active, more infirm patients can decrease pain and improve function from a metal and plastic elbow joint replacement.

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