The elbow is a complex hinge and pivot joint comprised of the humerus of the upper arm and ulna and radius bones in the lower forearm. A thin layer of articular cartilage covers the ends of these bones that form the elbow joint. A joint capsule surrounds these articulations and contains a slick synovial fluid that lubricates and protects the joint surfaces from friction, wear and tear. An extensive network of ligaments surrounding the elbow joint helps resist mechanical stresses and acts as stabilizers. Powerful tendons and muscles originate and insert on the elbow bones which and provide forces allowing for flexion, extension and rotation of the forearm. The main function of the elbow is to allow the hand to be placed in different areas in space by allowing 0-180 degrees of flexion and extension range of motion, as well as 180 degrees of forearm rotation (supination and pronation).
The elbow is a common site of acute and chronic injury. The anatomy of the joint articulations, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood supply make it a difficult and, therefore, sometimes very unappealing area of the body to treat, but Dr. Viola is specialized in and even enjoys treating challenging elbow issues.