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Elbow Exam

Elbow Swelling

November 23rd, 2019


  • Look For

  • Generalised swelling over one or both upper limbs. May be associated with redness, tenderness or warmth.
Look between the olecranon, radial head and lateral epicondyle for a subtle concavity - loss of this is indicative of joint effusion.
  • Causes of Elbow Swelling

  • Trauma - olecranon fracture, radial head dislocation, biceps / triceps rupture, compartment syndrome
  • Olecranon bursitis
  • Arthritis - osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, gout, pseudogout, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis
  • Infection - cellulitis, abscess
  • Vascular - acute ischaemia, DVT, superficial thrombophlebitis
  • Fluid overload - cardiac / renal / hepatic failure
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