Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

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27.16, Elbow


In the monograph, the authors introduce the topic with a review of the surface and skeletal anatomy of the elbow as it relates to surgical interventions, tissue healing, and rehabilitation. Kinematic and kinetic principles enable the reader to appreciate the unique dynamics of the elbow complex. Differentiation of healing specific to muscle, ligament, tendon and bone, and articular structures are then presented.

Postsurgical exam and treatment procedures are detailed so the reader is able to formulate a comprehensive scheme of evaluation. A variety of common fractures, soft tissue disorders, and arthritic conditions encountered are then discussed along with general rehabilitation guidelines. A separate section on postsurgical complications is included. An evidence-based approach formulates the basis of appropriate interventions, progression, and outcomes.

Two case studies are included. The first case describes a 30-year-old male who injured his elbow when he was unable to maintain control of a heavy table he was lifting. The second case describes a 60-year-old female who tripped and fell on her right arm. Physical therapy care is described after the patient received a radial head replacement.


Julia L. Burlette, PT, DPT, OCS
Amy B. Pomrantz, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC
Chris A. Sebelski, PT, PhD, OCS, CSCS
Justin M. Lantz, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
John M. Itamura, MD

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this monograph, the course participant will be able to:

  1. Understand the anatomy of the elbow as it relates to surgical interventions, tissue healing, and treatment.
  2. Understand the biomechanics of the elbow and the impact this has on postoperative guidelines, treatment progression, and outcomes.
  3. Identify the unique precautions and contraindications associated with each of the surgical procedures described for the elbow complex.
  4. Identify the most common complications for the postoperative elbow.
  5. Appropriately screen and manage the most common complications for the postoperative elbow.
  6. Design and implement an evidence-based physical therapy treatment plan based on appropriate interventions, progression, and productive outcomes.
  7. Determine the appropriate adjunctive device and its effectiveness based on pathology, patient presentation, and an evidence-based critique of the current literature.
Copyright Statement:

Materials in this course—unless otherwise indicated—are protected by the United States Copyright Law [Title 17, U.S. Code]. Materials are presented in educational context for personal use and study and should not be shared, distributed, or sold in print—or digitally—outside the scope of this course without AOPT permission. Copyright 2019, Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, APTA, Inc. All rights reserved.

Registrant Price (USD):
Online Only
Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Member $35
Non-Academy Member $50


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