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.
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.
Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
Anyone can get tennis elbow if they have the risk factors but common age group is 30 to 60.In racquet sports like tennis, improper stroke technique and improper equipment may be risk factors.Tennis Elbow can also occur without any recognized repetitive injury. This occurence is called "insidious" or of an unknown cause.
The symptoms of tennis elbow develop gradually. In most cases, the pain begins as mild and slowly worsens over weeks and months. There is usually no specific injury associated with the start of symptoms.
Common signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include:
Lateral epicondylitis, which is the medical name for tennis elbow, is a condition wherein the tendon in the upper arm develops a tear due to repeated motions. This is a very painful condition and can make your daily life difficult. It usually tends to affect your dominant arm i.e. the arm that you use the most.
Who does it affect and why does it happen?
As mentioned earlier, tennis elbow occurs due to repetitive similar movements of the elbows, forearms and wrists over a prolonged period. The common name for this condition came due to repeated occurrences with tennis players although it can happen to players of other sports as well as people in other profession too. Some of the people who are most susceptible to this could be from the following fields:
How it can be treated?
Most treatment methods include keeping the elbow in a resting position and giving it time to heal automatically. However, some medication may also be given to relieve pain and quicken healing. Some of these are mentioned below.
When simple activities like opening the door or lifting a bag of groceries tend to cause pain in the elbow, it can be a cause for concern. Taken for granted, the elbows assist in various movements and when pain limits their movement, it can be very distressful. That is what happened to John who had issues picking up his laptop. Trying to tightly close the water bottle would leave his elbows hurting. When he sought medical help, the doctor helped identify the exact location and cause of pain. What followed was a multi-pronged approach with medication and exercise. In about 3 months, the pain was almost gone and then it improved to a state where there is an absolutely painless movement now.
Most people with elbow pain (or any joint pain for that matter) also experience a reduced range of motion. While as a short-term measure, exercises can definitely reduce the pain and take care of the inflammation, the long-term approach should be to work on the overall health of the joints and bones.
The elbow is hinge joint with bones in between arm and forearm that move with the help of fibrous tendons and ligaments. Elbow pain can be due to the following reasons:
Whatever the cause, pain medications provide immediate but temporary relief from pain and improve movement. Long-term requires exercises which will improve circulation, sensation, and restore movement to as close to normal as possible.
The following 4 steps help in managing elbow pain:
Ignoring elbow pain in the early stages can lead to progression, so early intervention is advisable. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Tennis elbow is a condition which is characterized by the inflammation of the tendons occurring in the elbow region due to excess use of the muscle groups present in the overarm. Tennis elbow can cause a lot of distress once it occurs so it is best to perform certain exercises to strengthen the muscle groups in your overarm so that muscle strain does not occur during your physical activities. Read on more to find about all the different ways to strengthen your muscle groups to prevent tennis elbow.
1. Staying in good physical shape overall tones your body and strengthens your muscle groups, thus reducing the likelihood of tennis elbow.
2. It is also important that the physical activities which are performed by you are done using proper technique as otherwise undue strain might cause unnecessary discomfort and pain.
3. You should try strengthening the muscles in your shoulder, arm and upper back to reduce the stress your elbow undergoes during physical activity.
4. Using a counterforce brace for activities which include twisting or grasping of the arm can also help. The use of a counterforce brace is to distribute the pressure throughout the arm which reduces the stress on the elbow. The brace is highly recommended for people who are likely to develop tennis elbow. One should consult a doctor before opting for a counter brace. However, it is not a substitute for rehab exercises.
If repeated arm movements or certain physical activities are causing discomfort or pain in the elbow region, check for alternative ways of performing the task. If you have taken up tennis, cricket or golf as a sport, it is highly recommended that you take proper lessons in technique as these sports involve twisting and grasping your arm which can cause injuries if you do not follow proper techniques. Also keep in mind to choose sports equipments which are at par with your physical fitness, flexibility and strength.
In daily activities, take a note of the activities which involve putting stress on your elbows. In such instances follow techniques or different ways to perform the tasks which will put minimum stress or pressure on your elbows.
All tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are both injuries to the elbow joint that are caused due to overuse. Technically, they are both considered to be forms of epicondylitis. This refers to an inflammation of the tendons attached to the elbow. Another similarity between them is that they are not restricted to athletes. However, they are not synonymous. The main difference between the two conditions lies in the part of the elbow that is affected.
This condition is also known as lateral epicondylitis. It is most commonly diagnosed amongst patients between the age of 30 to 50 years. The tendons affected by this condition are located on the lateral or outer side of the elbow. Thus, it is marked by inflammation of the outer areas of the forearm and elbow due to repetitive actions by the wrist and forearm. The condition is commonly known as tennis elbow because a forehand or backhand stroke exerts the muscles that cause this inflammation. Cooks, carpenters, plumbers and painters are most susceptible to this condition. Seasonal activities such as gardening or raking can also trigger tennis elbow.
Symptoms of tennis elbow:
A pain that radiates from the outer elbow to the wrist and forearm is a characteristic symptom of this condition. This pain may be felt as a constant ache or only experienced while performing certain activities. In addition, the forearm might feel weak and patients may complain of having a weak grip.
Golfer’s elbow is also known as medial epicondylitis. This condition affects the tendons on the medial or inside of the elbow. It is characterized by pain and irritation on the inside elbow and arm. Any action that requires repetitive flexing and twisting of the wrist can cause this condition. Thus, golfers are at a high risk of suffering from it. Medial epicondylitis can also be caused by shovelling, gardening or throwing a ball. Carpenters, weightlifters and painters often find themselves experiencing pain associated with this condition.
Symptoms of golfer’s elbow:
A pain on the inner side of the elbow is the main symptom associated with golfer’s elbow. This pain usually radiates downwards to the forearm. It may be experienced when lifting the hand or when twisting the forearm, such as when making a fist. The elbow may also be slightly swollen and feel tender. In addition, patients may experience a tingling sensation in the ring and little finger. If left untreated for a long time, it could cause elbow stiffness as well as weakness in the wrist.
Throwing a ball, lifting something or even eating requires the use of the elbow joint. This is one of the most overused joints in the body and hence is very susceptible to wear and tear, which mostly causes pain. Pain in the elbow could be the result of an issue with the arm muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones or bursae. The treatment for this pain depends largely on the factors causing it. Some of the most common conditions that cause elbow pain are:
This condition is also known as 'Medial Epicondylitis'. It is caused by an overuse of the elbow muscles and affects the elbow’s inner tendons. Resting the elbow, cold packs and the use of over-the-counter pain killers can usually relieve this sort of pain.
This condition is also caused by repetitive actions and affects the elbow’s outer tendons. It is also known as lateral epicondylitis. Resting the elbow can help this type of pain. In addition, patients may also need to wear an elbow strap or brace to support the joint. In some cases, physiotherapy may also be needed.
This is also commonly known as draftsman’s elbow or olecranon bursitis. This condition affects the small fluid sacs or bursae in the elbow. These fluid sacs aid in the movement of the elbow. Leaning on the elbow for a long time, a sharp blow or an infection could be the cause of this condition. It can be treated with medication and elbow pads. In chronic and severe cases, surgery may also be needed.
Fracture or Dislocation
Falling on the elbow can lead to a bone being dislocated or a fracture in the joint. In such cases, the pain will be accompanied by swelling, discoloration and difficulty in moving the elbow. Fractures and dislocated bones need medical attention. Your doctor may advise you to wear a brace or a cast depending on the severity of the issue.
Sprains and Strains
Repeated stress or a trauma can result in a sprained or strained ligament. In such cases, the joint will feel unstable. Pain caused by these ligament conditions can be relieved by resting the elbow, applying a cold pack and wearing a brace to support the elbow. Sometimes, a doctor may also advise physiotherapy.
This condition is caused by dislodged pieces of bone and cartilage that could be the result of an injury. Young men are the most affected by it. Resting the joint and abstaining from lifting any weights can help relieve pain caused by Panner’s disease. In some cases, physical therapy may also be recommended.
Elbow pain can be tricky to treat. Sometimes, it can just go away with rest or with the application of cold packs or rehabilitation exercises. The most important thing is to be patient and get the treatment process started. Make sure to consult with a doctor before treating any kind of elbow pain. Home remedies are best avoided when it's the elbow at stake. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Elbow pain is a common problem affecting people. The elbow gives your hand the necessary flexibility to perform a lot of important activities such as to pick up or throw things. An elbow pain, if severe can affect a lot of these activities. Thus, if the pain gets uncomfortable and persists for long, you should consult an Orthopedic at the earliest. Different factors can trigger the elbow pain in different people. Thus, to make the treatment effective, it is first important to find out the underlying cause of the pain.
The three major ligaments that hold the elbow bones together are:
Any injury, disorder or damage to the elbow bones, ligaments, cartilage or tendons can result in an elbow pain. Some of the common factors and medical conditions that can give rise to an elbow pain include:
In addition to these, an elbow pain can also be caused by a sprain, fracture, bone dislocation, and tenosynovitis (inflammation of the tendon sheath), to name a few.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Elbow pain and discomfort can be an outcome of a myriad of reasons. Thus, the symptoms of an elbow pain may differ depending on the factor or the medical condition causing the pain. In most of the cases, an elbow pain restricts the movement of the arm affecting a person's ability to lift things or to hold onto something.
To evaluate and determine the exact cause of the elbow pain, a doctor may carry out the following diagnostic tests.
The treatment for elbow pain primarily depends on the condition that triggers it.