Elbow Hyperextension

Elbow hyperextension typically occurs during a fall on an outstretched hand.  Artistic athletes, including gymnasts, dancers, and cheerleaders, are particularly prone to an elbow hyperextension during gymnastic stunts like handsprings.

– Trauma. 

– Generalized hypermobility. 

– Upper extremity weakness.

– Pain with movement.

– Tenderness/swelling.

– Loss of range of motion.

– Feeling of instability.

At Home Diagnostic Tests

None – see symptom list.


At Home Care

– Comfort care – ice, NSAIDs as needed. 

– Compression.


When to Seek Help

If you see a visible deformity, are unable to move your elbow, or have tingling/numbness into your hand, head to your nearest emergency department as you may have a fracture or dislocation.  If you do not have any of the above symptoms, see your physical therapist if your pain and function do not improve within 7 days.

Inspired Athletx Treatment

Initial treatment for an elbow hyperextension will include manual therapy to reduce pain and improve range of motion, pain free mobility exercises, and scapular stability exercises.  As you progress, strengthening of the upper arm and forearm musculature will be integrated to support your elbow joint.  If you are hypermobile (easily able to hyperextend elbows at rest), your physical therapist will help you learn how to control your range of motion to avoid “locking” into your elbows while weight bearing.