What is a Hyperextension Injury of the Elbow?

A physical malady known as a hyperextension injury of the elbow can be quite painful and potentially debilitating. The Plano Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Spine Center, or POSMC, invites you to read the following brief blog providing an overview of this injury.

Overview Of An Elbow Hyperextension

The elbow joint, which connects the lower and upper portions of the arm, experiences a hyperextension when said structure is stretched beyond its normal motion range. In simpler terms, the joint becomes hyperextended when it is bent backwards.


Hyperextension injuries may be precipitated by several different factors including:

Participation In Athletics Or Other Strenuous Activities

Should you who partake in sports, particularly those that require quick, sharp arm motions like boxing and the martial arts, football, gymnastics and weightlifting, you will stand at an increased risk.


Certain mishaps, especially falls can elicit elbow hyperextensions. Said events render you especially vulnerable to these maladies because you often use your arms to protect other portions of your anatomy from injury upon impact.

Old Age

If you have reached an advanced age, your risk rises significantly because the joints of elderly persons tend to be weaker.

Previous Injury

Should you have sustained a previous arm or elbow injury, you are also more susceptible to hyperextensions because said maladies might not have healed properly rendered the arm or elbow weakened.

Physical Manifestations

Typically, individuals report hearing a popping sound the moment that the joint has been stretched beyond typical limits. Additionally, you might experience other symptoms such as elbow pain, mobility issues, swelling and arm weakness. If the joint becomes severely hyperextended, the elbow might appear to be deformed. In the most serious cases, said injury could precipitate decreased blood circulation in the impacted arm.


A general practitioner or orthopedic specialist will typically ask you to attempt certain arm and elbow movements during said professional’s initial stages of examination. Should such actions prove inconclusive or other telltale manifestations like pain or swelling not be resent, you might be subjected to various diagnostic tests like X-Rays or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, abbreviated simply as MRI scans.

Potential Treatment Options

The specific remedial protocol chosen by your doctor will depend upon certain factors such as your age, general health and the severity of the hyperextension. That said, common treatment options include:

The RICE Method

RICE is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. In less severe instances, enabling the injured elbow to rest for an extended duration, applying ice to the wounded area, compressing the injury and elevating the offending elbow above your head might expedite the healing process. Additionally, your doctor might prescribe over-the-counter or prescription pain preparations to ease associated discomfort.

Elbow Brace Application

Placing the injured elbow in a brace keeps said joint immobile and might foster a quicker recovery time.


In the most serious cases, surgical intervention might be indicated. An operation will likely be indicated if you sustained damage to adjacent bones or soft tissues. Following surgery, you will likely need physical therapy where you will perform various stretching exercises designed to help regain your elbow and arm strength.

Contacting Us

If you suspect a hyperextension injury of the elbow, one of the board certified, highly experienced orthopedic doctors at POSMC can evaluate your case, provide an accurate diagnosis and help determine the best possible treatment options.

Call POSMC today!

To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.

POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!