Urgent Care for Elbow Injuries in Hickory, NC

Skip the ER wait and get treated fast! AFC Urgent Care provides quick, affordable care for elbow injuries. Our clinic can help stabilize, brace, and ease your pain so you can heal quicker.

medical provider examining patient's elbow injury

Your elbow joint is essential for everyday activities, from grabbing a coffee to swinging a tennis racket. An elbow injury can really slow you down. If you hurt your elbow, don’t wait to get help. The sooner you get treatment, the faster you can get back to doing the things you enjoy.

Most Common Elbow Pain & Injuries

Elbow pain is a common issue that can result from various causes, such as injuries, overuse, and various medical conditions. The complex structure of the elbow, comprising bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, can make pinpointing the exact source of your pain a bit challenging. Common elbow issues include:

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse. It’s most commonly felt on the outside of the elbow where the forearm muscles attach to the bone.

Tennis elbow is caused by repetitive motions of the forearm muscles and tendons. These motions can cause tiny tears in the tendons, which leads to pain and inflammation. While the name suggests it’s related to tennis, tennis elbow can affect people who don’t play tennis. Other activities that can cause tennis elbow include:

  • Painting
  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Using screwdrivers
  • Chopping vegetables
  • Other activities that require repetitive gripping or wrist movements

The pain of tennis elbow can range from mild to severe. It’s usually worse when you grip something or extend your wrist. You may also have weakness in your grip.

Nursemaid’s Elbow

Nursemaid’s elbow, also known as pulled elbow, is a common injury among toddlers and preschoolers. It occurs when the ligament that holds the radius bone in place at the elbow joint slips out of position, causing the elbow to become partially dislocated.

Causes of nursemaid’s elbow

Even a little force can be enough to pull a young child’s elbow joint out of place. Common causes of nursemaid’s elbow include:

  • Swinging your child around by the hands or arms
  • Lifting your child up by the hands
  • Pulling your child’s arm through a jacket sleeve
  • Catching your child from falling by the hand
  • Pulling your child suddenly by the hand to avoid dange

Symptoms of nursemaid’s elbow

The most common symptom of nursemaid’s elbow is sudden pain in the elbow, often after a pulling motion on the arm. Other symptoms may include:

  • Refusal to use the injured arm
  • Holding the arm limply at the side or with a slight bend
  • Crying or fussiness
  • Tenderness around the elbow joint

Golfer's Elbow

Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is quite similar to tennis elbow, but it affects the other side of the elbow joint. Similar to tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow is caused by overuse and repetitive motions that strain the tendons on the inside of the elbow. This overuse leads to tiny tears and inflammation in the tendons.

Activities That Can Cause Golfer’s Elbow
While the name suggests golf, golfer’s elbow can affect people in various professions or activities that involve gripping, twisting, or forceful wrist bending. Examples include:

  • Golfing
  • Racquet sports
  • Weightlifting
  • Throwing sports
  • Manual labor jobs requiring repetitive arm movements

Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms

The main symptom is pain on the inner side of the elbow, radiating down the forearm towards the wrist. The pain often worsens with gripping objects, flexing the wrist, or twisting the forearm. Weakness in the grip is also common.

Elbow Strains and Sprains

Elbow strains and sprains are injuries to the ligaments and tendons that support the elbow joint. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones together, while tendons are bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Elbow strains and sprains can occur from a variety of causes, such as falls, accidents, and sports injuries.

Symptoms of elbow strains and sprains include pain, swelling, and bruising around the elbow joint. The elbow may also feel stiff or unstable.

Olecranon Fracture

An olecranon fracture is a break in the bony tip of the elbow, which is part of the ulna, one of the two bones in your forearm. The olecranon is the pointy piece of bone that you can feel at the tip of your elbow. It forms a part of the elbow joint and provides attachment for the triceps tendon, the powerful muscle that helps you straighten your arm.

This type of fracture is fairly common and can happen at any age, but it’s more likely to occur in older adults who have weaker bones. Olecranon fractures are most often caused by a direct blow to the elbow, such as from a fall onto an outstretched hand or a collision during contact sports. They can also be caused by a forceful pull on the triceps tendon, which can sometimes detach a small piece of bone from the olecranon.

Symptoms of an olecranon fracture can include:

  • Sudden and severe pain in the elbow
  • Swelling, bruising, and tenderness around the elbow
  • Difficulty straightening the elbow
  • Deformity of the elbow joint
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers

If you can’t make it to AFC immediately after an incident, use the R.I.C.E. method.

AFC Orthopedic Bed

Rest – After an accident, get to a comfortable location as soon as possible, and rest to prevent additional strain on the injury.

AFC Orthopedic Ice Pack

Ice – Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to the injury for 15 to 20 minutes. Reapply the ice every 3 hours. If you don’t have an ice pack, a bag of frozen produce will get the job done.

AFC Orthopedic Knee Brace

Compress – Put pressure on the injured area by wrapping it with an elastic bandage. Make sure the bandage is tight but not too tight. You can tell if the bandage is too tight when the injured area turns blue or starts feeling numb.

AFC Orthopedic Pillows

Elevate – To properly elevate your injury, position the injured area to rest above your heart. The most common way to elevate the injury is to stack several pillows under your foot, arm, ankle or leg while resting in bed or on a sofa.