You may be experiencing elbow pain due to an injury or a medical condition. Elbow pain typically indicates nothing serious. Still, it’s an annoyance and sometimes even painful. It may also make it difficult to perform even mundane tasks.
If you’ve been experiencing discomfort in your elbow, continue reading to learn more about the potential causes and treatments for your condition.
1. Overuse Injuries
When you use your arm too much or incorrectly, you can injure the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around your elbow.
It is usually seen in athletes who participate in sports like baseball or golf. The repetitive throwing motion can put a lot of stress on the elbow joint and can lead to pain and injury with time. The backhand stroke in tennis puts a lot of strain on the elbow, and golfers often grasp the club too tightly, which can lead to discomfort. If you have overuse damage, you may notice pain that comes on gradually. It may begin as a dull pang and then get worse over time.
Treatment often includes rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. Physical therapy can also help strengthen the elbow muscles and reduce pain. You may also use elbow support, such as a brace or wrap, to help stabilize the joint and reduce pain. Many elbow supports are available in the market, and you can easily find the best elbow supports according to your specific needs online. These braces and wraps help support your elbow and speed up healing.
Arthritis is another common cause of elbow pain. There are different sorts of arthritis, but the two most common types that affect the elbow are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative ailment that occurs when the cartilage in the joints breaks down. It can happen for various reasons, including age, injury, or overuse. When the cartilage breaks down, it allows the bones to rub together, which can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s tissues surrounding the joints are attacked. It leads to inflammation, discomfort, and immobility.
If you have arthritis, you may notice that your elbow pain worsens in the morning and improves as you move around. When you use your arm, the pain may be increased and then relieved with rest. You may also notice that your elbow is stiff, swollen, or tender to the touch.
Medication can help to ease pain and inflammation. Physical therapy can help strengthen the joint muscles and improve the range of motion. And lifestyle shifts, such as losing weight or avoiding activities that aggravate the joint, can also be helpful.
If you have arthritis, you must talk to your doctor about the best treatment options. Many different medications and therapies can help; the sooner you start treatment, the better.
Bursitis is another typical cause of elbow pain. Bursitis occurs when the bursa, a small sac of fluid that cushions the joints, becomes inflamed.
Bursa sacs are located around the elbow joint, and their job is to reduce friction between the bones and muscles. They also assist in the sliding of skin over bone. They can cause discomfort and swelling when they become inflamed.
It can be challenging to treat bursitis because it may disappear for long periods before returning. If left ignored, however, bursitis might become chronic or recur at another site in the body. A doctor will typically prescribe pain medicine as a first step to help alleviate discomfort while further treatment is determined based on your history, symptoms, and results from tests.
Tendonitis is a frequent cause of elbow discomfort. It often affects the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the elbow. These muscles help you to bend and straighten your arm. When they become inflamed, it can cause discomfort.
Tendonitis is often seen in people who participate in activities like tennis or weightlifting. However, it can also be seen in people with jobs requiring them to perform the same action frequently, such as typing or painting.
Some common symptoms of tendonitis include pain, stiffness, and tenderness. You may also notice that the affected area is warm to the touch or that your range of motion is decreased.
To treat tendonitis, your doctor may recommend a combination of rest, cold compression, and medication. If the tendonitis is severe, you may also need physiotherapy or surgery.
5. Trapped nerves
Trapped nerves are another common cause of elbow pain. The nerves that run from the spinal cord to the arms and hands pass through a small space in the elbow called the cubital tunnel. When this space becomes narrowed, it can pressure the nerves and cause pain.
The radial nerve, as it exits the outer aspect of the elbow and travels through the radial tunnel, is similarly affected in those who suffer from radial tunnel syndrome. The outside of your arm and elbow may start to burn or go numb.
Playing sports like baseball and tennis, which require repetitive arm motions, increases the risk of developing cubital and radial tunnel syndrome. Rest, splinting, and physical therapy can alleviate symptoms of a pinched nerve.
6. Stress fractures
A stress fracture is a minor crack in the bone that occurs due to repeated stress or trauma. Stress fractures are common in the elbow due to the emphasis placed on the joint when participating in activities such as weightlifting or tennis. In addition, athletes who throw a lot, such as baseball pitchers, can acquire them on the elbow. The pain is usually worse when throwing.
You may also require a sling or elbow splint to keep the elbow from moving. Depending on the severity of the fracture, you may need crutches to keep weight off of the affected arm. Surgery is rarely required for stress fractures.
We hope the points discussed on this blog helped identify some common causes of elbow pain. If you are experiencing any elbow pain, please consult a medical professional to get a diagnosis and proper treatment. Remember, treatment must begin as soon as possible!