EL­BOW

Men's Health (Singapore) - - HEALTH -

[TYPE OF JOINT: HINGE]

Ten­dons at­tach­ing bones to mus­cles in both the up­per and lower arm come to­gether in the el­bow area. Lig­a­ments hold bones tightly in place and sta­bi­lize the joint.

TOP THREAT: OLECRANON FRAC­TURE WHAT IT IS:

A crack or break in the el­bow’s tip; this can re­sult in an open frac­ture in which bone sticks through skin and can

cause in­fec­tion.

CAUSE:

Usu­ally di­rect im­pact with a hard ob­ject, such as whack­ing your el­bow against a door­frame. Fall­ing on an out­stretched arm can also stress the joint enough to sep­a­rate bone.

TREAT­MENT:

If pieces of bone aren’t out of place, splint­ing for about six weeks should al­low the frac­ture to heal. More com­plex frac­tures re­quire surgery to re­align bone frag­ments. A graft can fill in bone that’s been lost or de­stroyed.

DE­FENSE:

Wear el­bow pads in sports such as moun­tain bik­ing, which have a higher risk of falls. And just in case you do go down, prac­tice the tuck and roll. On a soft sur­face, crouch down, bend for­ward, tuck your head, and roll onto one shoul­der. Try to curl into a ball as you do so, us­ing your arms for guid­ance rather than as shock ab­sorbers.

FU­TURE-PROOF YOUR EL­BOWS:

If you’re a golfer or ten­nis player, take lessons to learn how to swing a club or racket us­ing your core and whole body. “A poor swing puts chronic strain on ten­dons, caus­ing over-use dam­age that can be dif­fi­cult to heal,” says Dar­ryl D’Lima, M.D., Ph.D., of the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Cal­i­for­nia. This can re­sult in epi­condyli­tis, a painful in­flamhip ma­tion of ten­dons that con­nect fore­arm mus­cles to bony pro­tru­sions called epi­condyles on the out­side and in­side of the el­bow. You know out­side (lat­eral) epi­condyli­tis as ten­nis el­bow and in­side (me­dial) epi­condyli­tis as golfer’s el­bow, but both can oc­cur in ei­ther sport. Bonus tip: Ease into your game. Hit the first few balls gen­tly, work­ing up a light sweat to lim­ber up mus­cles and lig­a­ments be­fore tak­ing more vig­or­ous strokes.

WATCH OUT!

“If your ten­nis racket isn’t strung cor­rectly, it will trans­mit more force up the fore­arm to the el­bow,” says Dr. D’Lima. A re­cent study in Shoul­der & El­bow found that lower string ten­sion placed less of a load on the el­bow, po­ten­tially re­duc­ing the risk of lat­eral epi­condyli­tis.

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