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Hyperextension Injury of the Elbow

What is Hyperextension Injury of the Elbow?

Hyperextension injury of the elbow occurs when the elbow joint is bent beyond its normal range of motion, causing damage to the bones and ligaments of the elbow.  It may also cause elbow dislocation. The condition is more common in tennis, football, weight-lifting and contact sports.


Patients with a hyperextension injury of the elbow often experience a popping sound, followed by instant pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain when moving or touching your elbow
  • Swelling or stiffness in the injured elbow
  • Loss of arm and elbow strength
  • Muscle spasms in the biceps 


Your doctor will evaluate the injury by reviewing your medical history, performing a thorough physical examination and ordering X-rays to rule out any fractures.  MRI and CT scans will help detect any soft tissue damage.


Your doctor will first recommend conservative treatment options. These may include:

  • Limit use and rest the elbow from activities that worsen symptoms. 
  • Braces may be ordered to decrease stress on the injured tissues.
  • Ice packs applied to the elbow can reduce swelling.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications may be ordered to treat swelling and discomfort.
  • Physical therapy may be ordered to promote stretching and strengthening, once symptoms have decreased.

If conservative treatment options fail to resolve the condition or your elbow is severely fractured or torn, surgery may be recommended. Following surgery, you are referred to physical therapy to improve the range of motion and strength of your joint.

  • Unity
  • South bend Lions
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Saint Joseph Health System
  • Beacon Health System
  •  American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • The American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • American Board of Medical Specialties
  • American Board of Medical Specialties
  • American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery
  • American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • North American Spine Society
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Zimmer Biomet
  • Stryker Corporation
  • Arthrex
  • Breg
  • Smith+Nephew
  • DePuy Synthes
  • The Indiana Orthopaedic Society
  • Notre Dame Orthopaedic Society
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • American Association for Hand Surgery
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery