Shane Mumford, who plays for the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the Australian Football League (AFL), underwent surgery on January 27 to remove floating bone from his right elbow. Mumford, who was a top player during the 2016 season, will spend about a month on the sidelines. He is expected to be able to return to play before the Giants start their regular season with a game against Adelaide on March 26.
Mumford’s floating bone injury is one overuse injury sometimes suffered by athletes. Other common elbow overuse injuries include Biceps Tendonitis, Tennis Elbow, and Golfer’s Elbow. It is important to realize that while many overuse injuries are named for a specific sport, you can suffer these injuries even when you are not participating in that particular activity.
Overuse injuries have an assortment of symptoms. This includes pain or swelling in the elbow. The area around the elbow may also be tender. In some cases, the person will experience numbness, tingling, or weakness in the elbow, forearm, or hand. In more extreme cases, the person may even have loss of mobility in their elbow. Sometimes, the pain and swelling may be accompanied by a popping or clicking sound in the joint.
If you experience any of these symptoms, especially for an extended period of time after participating in a repetitive activity, it is a good idea to visit a doctor. By looking over the injured area and possibly using x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, your doctor can help you determine the seriousness of the injury.
In most cases, the injured elbow will heal without surgery. Your doctor may tell you to rest your elbow for a while, generally two to three weeks. To ensure you do not continue to overuse your injured elbow, your doctor may immobilize it in a splint or brace for a while. Icing the injured area and taking anti-inflammatory medications may also help. If the pain continues, the doctor may decide to perform surgery.
If you are an athlete or other individual with an overuse injury, do not attempt to continue to play through the pain. It will just get worse. The sooner you rest it and allow it to heal, the sooner you can return to your regular activities pain-free.