Overhead elbow sports injuries are a group of pathologies seen in sports activities with overhead throwing or strokes, e.g. tennis, volleyball, baseball, javelin throwing. There has been a tremendous increase in the number of participants in these sports activities worldwide.
During the mid-to-late arm swing, tremendous forces are generated over the elbow as the elbow shifts into hyperextension and valgus positioning. Excessive forces tend to affect specific components of the joint:
- medial elbow: tensile forces can damage the ulnar collateral ligament, flexor-pronator muscle mass, or ulnar nerve
- posterior compartment: shear forces can damage the articular cartilage and cause an olecranon fracture
- lateral elbow: compressive forces can cause radiocapitellar contusion, fracture, or osteochondritis dissecans (in skeletally immature patients)
Elbow injuries commonly associated with overhead sports are as follows:
- 1. Cain EL, Dugas JR, Wolf RS, Andrews JR. Elbow injuries in throwing athletes: a current concepts review. (2003) The American journal of sports medicine. 31 (4): 621-35. doi:10.1177/03635465030310042601 - Pubmed
- 2. Eygendaal D, Safran MR. Postero-medial elbow problems in the adult athlete. (2006) British journal of sports medicine. 40 (5): 430-4; discussion 434. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2005.025437 - Pubmed