Are you living or working in East Petersburg, PA, and interested in seeing an orthopedic shoulder specialist? Dr. Michael Bercik and our team at Lancaster Orthopedic Group have years of experience helping Pennsylvania residents improve their movement and decrease pain. 

Shoulder Specialist East Petersburg, PADr. Michael Bercik is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with specialty training in shoulder and elbow orthopedics. He has spent years dedicating himself to learning advanced shoulder and elbow traumatology methods, including three fellowships under world-renowned surgeons to master the latest techniques. In addition to his fellowship experience, Dr. Bercik is committed to fostering positive patient relationships and community. He was awarded the Mark D Chilton award for outstanding patient care during his residency and maintains this high standard of care in his practice.

Elbow Stiffness When Healing from Shoulder Injuries

Several conditions can lead to a reduced range of motion in the elbow, including tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and elbow fractures. However, a less discussed cause of elbow stiffness is shoulder injuries. Shoulder injuries often require wearing restrictive garments, such as slings, casts, or other restrictive garments during recovery. The elbow cannot move and function normally when these garments are worn. During this period, the elbow may become stiff, persisting when returning to normal activities. 

A great way to improve the elbow’s range of motion is through range-of-motion exercises. These exercises can target flexion, extension, supination, or pronation movements. 

How do you know if you have a stiff elbow?

Stiff elbows are generally straightforward to diagnose. You will likely see a limited range of motion when performing everyday tasks, feel pain when training to extend your range of movement, and may even see swelling or tenderness in the elbow. When this is the case, it is best to consult with an orthopedic specialist to ensure there is no other cause of your symptoms.

Can you prevent a stiff elbow?

Unfortunately, a stiff elbow resulting from shoulder injuries is often due to restrictive garments worn during the healing period. Because of this, it may be unavoidable. However, if you can move the elbow during your shoulder recovery in ways that do not damage the shoulder, you should consult your orthopedic specialist about the best ways to practice these movements. 

Outside of this, the stiff elbow can likely be reduced by properly warming up before activities, using proper movement, and wearing protective equipment. 

What risk factors increase the likelihood of a stiff elbow?

The time you cannot move the elbow will increase the likelihood of developing stiff elbow. In addition, arthritis, irregular bone growth, elbow dislocations or fractures, bursitis, and scar tissue can increase stiffness in the elbow.

How is stiff elbow diagnosed?

Stiff elbow can be diagnosed through a physical examination, review of symptoms, and imaging, such as x-rays or CT scans if needed.

How is stiff elbow treated?

Stiff elbow from immobility during shoulder recovery is most often treated through progressive strengthening and stretching exercises. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, rest, and ice can also improve recovery.

Let’s Begin!

If you are ready to begin your shoulder or elbow recovery journey, look no further than our team at Lancaster Orthopedic Group. Dr. Michael Bercik is a shoulder and elbow specialist with years of experience. For residents of Petersburg, PA, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bercik by clicking the “Schedule An Appointment” link in the top right of the website or call (866) 564-1000.