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6 Common Reasons for Pain in the Elbow

Dr. S.S Sanyal 91% (157 ratings)
MS - Orthopaedics, Diploma In Orthopaedics (D. Ortho), MBBS
Orthopedist, Delhi  •  41 years experience
6 Common Reasons for Pain in the Elbow

Elbow pain may be caused due to a variety of reasons from injuries to fractures and ligament pulls or tears. This is most commonly experienced by people who are into sports, including those who play tennis, golf and other such sports that require intense arm movements.

So, let us look at the six most common reasons behind elbow pain:

  1. Medial Epicondylitis: This condition creates pain in the inner tendon within the elbow and is usually termed as 'golfer's elbow'. It basically occurs due to the constant swinging and throwing motion that a sports person may indulge in. When these movements are repeated on a constant basis, there is wear and tear as well as acute pain in the area. Also, an injury to the wrist can cause this pain in the elbow.
  2. Lateral Epicondylitis: This condition is commonly known as 'tennis elbow'. The affected area under this condition includes the outside tendons of the elbow. This is caused due to swinging, hitting, hammering and punching motions that are repeated too often. It is commonly experienced by cooks, artists, carpenters, automobile workers, and plumbers and people who use heavy tools.
  3. Olecranon Bursitis: This condition is also known as 'student's elbow' and usually occurs due to constant writing and gripping motion which affects the bursae. These are small fluid filled sacs that lubricate the joints even as the protection happens. The symptoms include swelling and pain. There is also risk of infection and redness in this condition.
  4. Osteoarthritis: The cartilage of the joints gets affected in this condition which is the connective tissue that exists in the joints. This condition causes wear and tear of the joints and bones which leads to pain in the various areas including the elbow. Medication and physiotherapy are good measures for treatment.
  5. Fracture: Sometimes, dislocation or fracture may lead to pain in the outstretched arm or elbow. Dislocation may take place when a bone moves from its aligned spot. The symptoms will include obvious swelling and acute pain in the elbow.
  6. Ligament Damage: Strains and sprains in the ligaments within the elbow joint can lead to this damaging condition. Torn or stretched ligaments are the most common outcomes in this kind of injury and damage.

To find out which reason may be the culprit behind your elbow pain, you will need to see a general physician or an orthopaedic specialist who will run you through a series of tests and examinations including X rays, MRI scans and others in order to ascertain the cause and treatment. A sports injury specialist can also help in diagnosis and treatment.

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