Elbow Q & A

Participating in sports or activities that require repetitive motion can leave you with persistent pain in your elbow joint and surrounding tissue. At his San Mateo, California, orthopedic practice, Paul Eliot Hughes, MD, specializes in treating overuse injuries in the elbow joint. He can also diagnose and treat degenerative diseases like arthritis that restrict the mobility of your elbow. Available treatments include minimally invasive surgery and innovative stem cell therapies. Find out more about treating elbow pain by scheduling an appointment today by phone or by filling out our form.

What conditions cause elbow pain?

Your elbow works hard to provide you with flexibility and functionality. Because of this frequent activity, you could be at risk for developing elbow pain resulting from overuse or degenerative disease.


Common conditions that cause chronic pain in your elbow include:


  • Arthritis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Trauma injuries
  • Nerve entrapment


Dr. Hughes offers advanced diagnostic testing to identify the cause of your elbow pain and creates a custom treatment plan to address your injury or condition.

What is tennis and golfer’s elbow?

These conditions, nicknamed after the sports activities that cause chronic elbow pain and dysfunction, can lead to overuse injuries or wear-and-tear damage to the elbow joint.


Tennis elbow affects the tendons surrounding your elbow, causing persistent pain and difficulty bending your elbow. These tendons attach to the bony protrusion on the outside of your elbow and repetitive movements can worsen the pain and damage the tendons.


In golfer’s elbow, pain develops in the tendons of your forearm due to repeated clenching of your fingers to hold your club and the movements of the elbow in your golf swing.

What treatment options are available for chronic elbow pain?

Dr. Hughes specializes in surgical and nonsurgical treatments to address injuries, including those relating to sports participation and diseases like osteoarthritis.


Initially, Dr. Hughes will likely recommend heat or ice therapy to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Physical therapy can also improve the functioning of your elbow. If these treatments don’t work to relieve your symptoms, Dr. Hughes could recommend surgery. At his orthopedic practice, he can perform minimally invasive procedures like:


  • Elbow arthroscopy
  • Elbow reconstruction
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) injections


Depending on the severity of your condition, Dr. Hughes might try regenerative medicine – stem cell therapy or PRP injections – first to delay or prevent surgery.

What is elbow arthroscopy?

Elbow arthroscopy is a surgical procedure where Dr. Hughes uses small incisions and specialized surgical instruments to access your elbow joint. Attached to the instruments is a small camera and lighting system that allows Dr. Hughes to see your elbow joint up close and make necessary repairs.


During surgery, Dr. Hughes could remove damaged bone in the joint or repair damaged ligaments or other tissue surrounding the joint.