What is Elbow Pain?
Damage to any structures that make up the elbow joint can cause pain.
What are the Common Causes of Elbow Pain?
The common causes of elbow pain may include:
Elbow dislocation: An elbow dislocation occurs when the bones that make up the joint are forced out of alignment, as when you fall onto an outstretched hand. They can also occur from traumatic injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents. When the elbow is dislocated, you may experience severe pain, swelling, and lack of ability to bend your arm. Sometimes, you cannot feel your hand or may have no pulse in your wrist because arteries and nerves that run along your elbow may be injured.
Elbow fractures: A fracture is a common injury to the elbow. Elbow fractures may result from a fall onto an outstretched wrist, direct impact to the elbow, or twisting injury. Elbow fractures may cause severe pain, swelling, tenderness, and difficulty in movement. If a fracture is suspected, immediate intervention by your doctor is necessary. Surgery is often required if a bony displacement is observed.
Tennis elbow/golfer’s elbow: Tennis elbow is the inflammation of muscles on the outside of the elbow, whereas tendinitis on the inner side is golfer’s elbow. Overusing the arms or a traumatic blow to the hand may cause tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. These injuries may cause severe pain and tenderness of the affected muscles that radiate into the forearm, particularly using the hand and wrist.
Adequate rest and immobility of the affected part help the muscles to recover, and modification of the activities helps in better healing. A tennis elbow strap may relieve the pressure from the muscle attachment. Pain medications may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation. Heat therapy, followed by stretching and strengthening exercises, and then ice massage may be beneficial.
Tendonitis: Tendonitis is inflammation of any of the tendons in the wrist. It is usually treated with adequate rest, splinting, ice application, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce inflammation.
Any problem causing pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness, tingling sensation, or abnormal elbow position that persists for more than two or three days should be evaluated by your doctor to establish the cause and obtain the best treatment as early as possible.