Objective: To review the existing data available on the epidemiology of elbow injuries in sport. Data sources and study selection: A comprehensive, web-based search of existing articles pertaining to elbow injuries in sports was performed. Main results: Age, sex, and level of experience in sport influence the incidence of common elbow conditions in tennis players, golfers, snowboarders, baseball players and football players. The cartilaginous composition of the distal humerus and multiple secondary ossification centres in children leads to different injury patterns as compared to adults. Most of the injuries sustained are chronic overuse injuries, and a higher incidence of injuries has been reported with increasing years of play. The amount of time lost from playing sport after sustaining elbow injuries depends on the type and severity of the elbow injury sustained. Return to athletic activity is not usually inhibited after sustaining an elbow injury. The study of epidemiological trends in elbow injury has paved the way for various injury prevention strategies which focus on instructional programmes, flexibility, strengthening, endurance, conditioning of the musculature, warm-up, stretching, and avoidance of fatigue. Conclusions: There are few prospective studies on epidemiological trends of elbow injury in sports other than baseball. Extensive sport specific dynamic exercise programmes, are effective in managing and preventing elbow injury in sport. Such programmes should cater for the age, gender, and skill level of the athlete. There is still a vast scope to conduct research and prospective studies in athletes with elbow injuries.
The epidemiology of injuries to the elbow in sport
About the Author: Merzesh Magra
Mr Merzesh Magra is an experienced Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon based in Lancaster specialising in hip and knee joint replacement surgery. He has 22 years of experience and is a results-oriented skilled surgeon and an ardent advocator of enhanced recovery principles.