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1. the bend of the upper limb; the area around the joint connecting the arm and forearm; see also elbow joint. Called also cubitus.
2. any angular bend.ƒ

The elbow joint connects the large bone of the upper arm, the humerus, with the two smaller bones of the lower arm, the radius and ulna. It is one of the body's more versatile joints, with a combined hinge and rotating action allowing the arm to bend and the hand to make a half turn. The flexibility of the elbow and shoulder joints together permits a nearly infinite variety of hand movements.

The action of the elbow is controlled primarily by the biceps and the triceps muscles. When the biceps contracts, the arm bends at the elbow. When the triceps contracts, the arm straightens. In each action, the opposite muscle exerts a degree of opposing tension, moderating the movement so that it is smooth and even instead of sudden and jerky.

As in other joints, the ends of the bones meeting at the elbow have a smooth covering of cartilage that minimizes friction when the joint is moved. The elbow joint is lubricated with synovia, and its movement is eased by the bursa, a small sac of connective tissue. The bones forming the joint are held together by tough, fibrous ligaments. The “funny bone” is not a bone but the ulnar nerve, a vulnerable and sensitive nerve lying close to the surface near the point of the elbow. Hitting it causes a tingling pain or sensation that may be felt all the way to the fingers.
Disorders of the Elbow. The elbows, like the knees, are continually exposed to bumps, twists, and wrenches. Elbow injuries include fracture of a bone near the joint, dislocation, and tearing of tendons and ligaments. Dislocation and fracture may occur together. arthritis may affect the elbow and make it stiff or impossible to move. Special exercises, manipulation, and heat therapy may be prescribed to help restore flexibility. bursitis can also cause pain in the elbow, often as a result of excessive use of the joint.
Elbow. From Jarvis, 2000.
tennis elbow a term often used for bursitis of the elbow but more accurately referring to tendinitis felt in the outer aspect of the elbow due to inflammation of the extensor tendon attached to the lateral humeral condyle. Rest and heat therapy usually relieve it. It affects both tennis players and others who put stress on the elbow.


(el'bō), [TA]
1. The region of the upper limb between arm and forearm surrounding the elbow joint, especially posteriorly.
2. Synonym(s): ancon, cubitus (1) Synonym(s): elbow joint
3. An angular body resembling a flexed elbow.
[A.S. elnboga]


/el·bow/ (el´bo)
1. the bend of the arm; the region around the joint connecting the arm and forearm.
2. any angular bend.

little leaguer's elbow  medial epicondylitis of the elbow due to repeated stress on the flexor muscles of the forearm, often seen in adolescent ballplayers.
miners' elbow  enlargement of the bursa over the point of the elbow, due to resting the body weight on the elbow as in mining.
pulled elbow  subluxation of the head of the radius distally under the round ligament.
tennis elbow  a painful condition of the outer elbow, due to inflammation or irritation of the extensor tendon attachment of the lateral humeral epicondyle.


a. The joint or bend of the arm between the forearm and the upper arm.
b. The bony outer projection of this joint.
2. A joint, as of a bird or quadruped, corresponding to the human elbow.
v. el·bowed, el·bowing, el·bows


Etymology: AS, elboga
the bend of the upper limb at the joint that connects the arm and the forearm. It is a common site of inflammation and injuries, such as those incurred during participation in various sports. See also elbow joint.
enlarge picture
Structures of the elbow


The synovial joint between the brachium and the antebrachium. See Cat's elbow, Coal workers' elbow, Golfer's elbow, Mouse elbow, Nursemaid's elbow, Student's elbow, Tennis elbow.


(el'bō) [TA]
1. The region of the upper limb between arm and forearm surrounding the elbow joint, especially posteriorly.
2. The joint between the arm and the forearm.
Synonym(s): cubitus (1) [TA] .
3. An angular body resembling a flexed elbow.
[A.S. elnboga]


(el'bo?) [Old English. eln, forearm + boga, bend]
Enlarge picture
The joint between the arm and forearm. See: illustration

Boston elbow

Boston arm.

golfer's elbow

Medial humeral epicondylitis

little league elbow

A form of overuse syndrome marked by tension being placed on the medial structures of the elbow and, possibly, compression forces being placed on the lateral structures. Long-term consequences include abnormal growth of the medial epicondyle and avulsion of the medial epicondyle. It is seen in adolescent baseball players, esp. in pitchers. In order to help prevent this condition, Little League Baseball regulations limit the number of pitches a player can throw per week.

nursemaid's elbow

Subluxation of the head of the radius with entrapment of the annular ligament in the radiohumeral joint, esp. in a young child after being lifted by the hand or wrist. The condition is acutely painful, and the child will not willingly use the affected arm.


The subluxation can be readily reduced with closed manipulation.

Synonym: radial head subluxation

tennis elbow

See: tennis elbow


(el'bō) [TA]
1. The region of the upper limb between arm and forearm surrounding the elbow joint, especially posteriorly.
2. Synonym(s): elbow joint.
3. An angular body resembling a flexed elbow.
[A.S. elnboga]


1. the bend of the lower forelimb.
2. the joint connecting the humerus, radius and ulna. It is one of the body's more versatile joints, with a combined hinge and rotating action allowing the limb to bend and paw to make a half turn. The flexibility of the elbow and shoulder joints together permits a nearly infinite variety of paw movements. In ungulates the elbow is a simple hinge.
Enlarge picture
Elbow joint of the dog. By permission from Aspinall V, O'Reilly M, Introduction to Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, Butterworth Heinemann, 2004

elbow abduction
in the standing posture the elbows are constantly abducted from the chest; usually a posture indicative of pleural pain.
elbow dysplasia
includes the inherited developmental defects, ununited anconeal process, fragmented (ununited) coronoid process, osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle, and radio-ulnar incongruence, which occur in young, actively growing, large breed dogs, causing lameness and later arthritis of the elbow.
elbow flexion
a frequent malposition of a forelimb causing dystocia in cows. The foot is presented but is a long way back from the one on the opposite limb. The flexed limb increases the diameter of the fetus significantly.
elbow luxation
uncommon in most species because of the innate stability of the elbow joint; can be congenital or caused by trauma, sometimes associated with fractures.

Patient discussion about elbow

Q. Are there any alternative treatments to Tennis Elbow? I've been suffering from Tennis Elbow for over 2 years and would really like to avoid surgery. Any suggestions based on your experience would be highly appreciated.

A. Massage therapy has been found to be beneficial if symptoms are mild. Massage techniques are based primarily on increasing circulation to promote efficient reduction of inflammation. Manipulation, acupuncture, and acupressure have been used as well. Contrast hydrotherapy (alternating hot and cold water or compresses, three minutes hot, 30 seconds cold, repeated three times, always ending with cold) applied to the elbow can help bring nutrient-rich blood to the joint and carry away waste products. Botanical medicine and homeopathy may also be effective therapies for tennis elbow. For example, cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) ointment or prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) oil applied topically may help to increase blood flow to the affected area and speed healing.
and omega 3 fatty acids.
that's all i know...i investigated the subject as you can see :)

Q. I am suffering from tennis elbow for nearly three months. What is the best treatment and exercise? There is very pain and I can not lift any weight even mug to bath. I attended my doctor who advised me Nucoxia 90 (Etoricoxib 90) 1 OD for 14 days and SWD 10 minutes for 6 days at affected right elbow. There was some relief for few days but again the position is same due to which I am unable to do my routine works. At night on sleeping, the arm becomes heavy and painful.

A. As for i have learned that Tennis elbow is the inflamation of the tendons on the lateral side of the elbow. You can take an ice cube and gently massage it for about 10 minutes and repeat the same for 3 times a week. if you approach a physical therapist , that would be useful where they use a modality called ultrasound with some medication. A physical therapist can teach you how to do correct exercise.


A. how old is your mom? she might have osteoporoses, very common in older women. if that is so- there's a good chance that she cracked her elbow when she got hit. another common thing in osteoporoses is that it takes forever until the bone heals.

More discussions about elbow
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The 33-year-old, who plays womanising Douglas Ross in the hit hospital drama ER, has been given the elbow by actress Courtney Cox.
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