How is posterior elbow impingement treated?
The majority of individuals who sustain this type of injury can be treated with non-surgical methods. An important non-surgical approach is rest; resting the elbow allows for a decrease in inflammation. Bracing of the elbow may also be helpful in decreasing the symptoms of posterior elbow impingement. Joint taping can be beneficial in providing relief as well. A physical therapist (PT) or physiotherapist can instruct the proper application of KT tape (kinesio-tape), which can gently reposition muscles and ligaments. Physical therapy exercises that focus on strength training and flexibility are useful in treating posterior elbow impingment. A patient may be instructed to follow the R.I.C.E. procedure for their elbow: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Over the counter medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen can also help with inflammation and tenderness. In some cases, a corticosteroid or platelet rich plasma injection may also be helpful in decreasing elbow pain. As an orthopedic elbow specialist, Dr. Williams will discuss which conservative treatment plan the patient should follow.
Surgery may be necessary to treat posterior elbow impingement when conservative methods have failed; mechanical symptoms (locking/catching) and range of motion loss seldom respond to nonoperative treatment strategies alone. Bone spurs that form around the elbow can cause pain and limit extension. These problematic bone spurs can be removed arthroscopically using a minimally invasive approach. In such cases, Dr. Williams removed the excess bone and intervening soft tissues in the posterior elbow to allow for improved elbow range of motion and function. Dr. Williams will prescribe an individualized rehabilitation program following surgery for elbow impingement. Most individuals can anticipate a return to sports approximately three months after surgery.