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Elbow Pain - 6 Common Reasons Behind It!

Dr. Atul Mishra 86% (16 ratings)
Fellowship In Joint Replacement, MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, Delhi
Elbow Pain - 6 Common Reasons Behind It!

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. 

4148 people found this helpful

Tennis Elbow

Dr. Kulwinder Singh Shah 88% (28 ratings)
DNB, MBBS, Fellowship in Joint Replacement
Orthopedist, Zirakpur
Tennis  Elbow

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:

  • Pain or burning on the outer part of your elbow
  • Weak grip strength
  • The symptoms are often worsened with forearm activity, such as holding a racquet, turning a wrench, or shaking hands. Your dominant arm is most often affected; however both arms can be affected.
3 people found this helpful

Tennis Elbow: Who Are Most Susceptible Person Of This Problem?

Dr. Shyam Bhairi 90% (61 ratings)
MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Orthopedist, Hubli-Dharwad
Tennis Elbow: Who Are Most Susceptible Person Of This Problem?

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:

  1. Sporting activities such as squash, tennis, fencing, cricket and many other sports where repeated arms movements are required.
  2. Carpenters
  3. Painters
  4. Musicians playing certain instruments
  5. Typing
  6. Knitting work
  7. Chefs and waiters
  8. Cleaning
  9. Road and construction workers


  1. A slow exacerbation of pain over a period and gradual worsening can be a major symptom.
  2. In certain cases, the pain may manifest suddenly which will make any movement very difficult.
  3. Moving your arm may become very difficult, especially during any up or down movement of the arm.
  4. In some cases, the pain may be experienced only when shaking objects or actions wherein squeezing or hard gripping is required.
  5. Performing daily activities such as a tooth brush, trying to open jars or even trying to use a knife or fork can get extremely difficult.

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.

  1. Elbow straps: These fix the elbow in a comfortable position and don’t allow it to move helping it heal on its own.
  2. Ice treatment : This is the most common home treatment prescribed to relieve pain. You can use homemade icepacks or even buy gel pack, which can then be held against the area to relieve pain.
  3. Painkillers: Ibuprofen and aspirin can be used to lessen the pain, although it is advisable to consult your doctors first.
  4. Various physical therapies: Physiotherapy, acupuncture or specific doctor recommended exercises could be done to not only relieve pain but also quicken healing and to strengthen the tendons and the muscles of that area.

Elbow pain - Role Of Exercise Along With Medication

MBBS, DNB - Orthopedics, MNAMS - Orthopaedics
Orthopedist, Pune
Elbow pain - Role Of Exercise Along With Medication

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:

  1. Overuse or repetitive stress injuries (RSI) causing either tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. In either tennis or golf, the elbow joint is repeatedly subjected to a movement that causes strain on that muscle.
  2. An Infection: This could reach the elbow joint from the skin or develop within.
  3. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis which affect the elbows and have no identified trigger.

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:

  1. Apply heat: A moist, warm towel or pad helps in improving circulation and helps in healing.
  2. Rest: While exercise is necessary for keeping the joints agile, rest after overuse is equally important. This along with heat allows the tissues to recover so they can jump back to optimal functional levels.
  3. Stretching: Repeat stretching for about 10 to 15 minutes 3 to 5 times per day will greatly help in restoring normal elbow movement. Of note, stretching should be done only after the initial pain is gone.
  4. Braces: To provide complete rest to the ligaments, a brace may be used which can also be applied for counter-traction and helps in healing.

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!

3683 people found this helpful

Ways To Deal With Tennis Elbow!

Dr. Arpita Patidar 84% (10 ratings)
Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Masters of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapist, Indore
Ways To Deal With Tennis Elbow!

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.

Pain Of Elbow

Dr. Mukesh Vyas 90% (603 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Pune
Pain Of Elbow

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.

Tennis elbow:
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:
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.

Pain In Elbow - Know The Causes and How to Manage It

Dr. Neetan Sachdeva 86% (38 ratings)
DNB - Orthopedics, Diploma In Orthopaedics, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Fellowship In Rheumatology & Joint Dosorder
Orthopedist, Delhi
Pain In Elbow - Know The Causes and How to Manage It

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:

Golfer’s Elbow
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.

Tennis Elbow
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.

Student’s Elbow
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.

Panner’s Disease
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!

4156 people found this helpful

Elbow Pain - Know The Causes!

Dr. Vikas Gupta 89% (18 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, Hand Surgery Fellowship
Orthopedist, Delhi
Elbow Pain - Know The Causes!

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:

  1. Ulnar-Collateral Ligament or the Medial Collateral Ligament.
  2. Lateral Collateral Ligament or the Radial Collateral Ligament.
  3. Annular Ligament.

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:

  1. Tennis Elbow: Tennis Elbow became famous, all thanks to the batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who suffered from this condition. Continued use of the arm in a particular motion can stress the tendons at the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB) muscle (located at the end of the elbow) which may suffer from tears. If left untreated, what started as a small tear will give rise to an inflammation affecting the full arm. The condition can be so painful that a person is unable to lift or hold anything.
  2. Injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL): The UCL is of the three major ligaments that hold the elbow bone in position, thereby controlling the joint movement. Increased and repetitive stress and pressure to the ULC, particularly children and adults who are into baseball (baseball pitchers) can result in ligament tear. Negligence will only worsen the injury with an excruciating elbow pain.
  3. Little League Elbow Syndrome: This syndrome is also found to be common among the young baseball players especially the pitchers. Little League Elbow Syndrome results from overuse of the elbow (while throwing the ball) which can cause inflammation of the Medial Epicondyle (the growth plate located at the end of the elbow). The Little Leaguer’s Elbow can leave the person with chronic elbow pain.
  4. Elbow Arthritis: Another condition that can trigger an elbow pain is the arthritis of the elbow. There may be inflammation in the elbow joint, resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness. A person also experiences difficulties in moving the elbow, including straightening and bending it. An injury or inflammation of the biceps and the triceps (the muscles that cross the elbow), due to strenuous physical exercise or activities can also cause pain and discomfort in the elbow.
  5. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: The Ulnar Nerve is present on the inner side of the elbow. Compression of this nerve resulting from leaning on the elbow over and over again can cause numbness and pain in the elbow, a condition known as Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.

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!

4468 people found this helpful

PRP Therapy to Heal Pain

Dr. Uttam 89% (207 ratings)
Fellowship in Pain Management, MD, MD - Anaesthesiology , MBBS , Observer post
Pain Management Specialist, Pune
PRP Therapy to Heal Pain

PRP therapy is a novel treatment to heal the pain of tennis elbow, knee and shoulder pain.

1 person found this helpful

Elbow Pain - Symptoms & Treatment

Dr. Vikas Gupta 89% (18 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, Hand Surgery Fellowship
Orthopedist, Delhi
Elbow Pain - Symptoms & Treatment

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.

  1. The elbow pain may also be associated with stiffness, and swelling in the elbow joints (often seen in people with Arthritis of the Elbow).
  2. In some, the elbow pain may be such that a person is unable to open a door, straighten the wrist. They face difficulties in even making a fist, (common in people with a Tennis Elbow).
  3. In the case of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, in addition to the elbow pain, there may be weakened hand grip and muscle wastings. The weakness may also affect the ring finger as well as the little finger. In extreme cases, there may be a claw-like deformity affecting the hand.
  4. In people with the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) injury, the associated symptoms may include pain mainly concentrated in the inside of the elbow. Further, there may be irritation of the ulnar nerve resulting in numbness in the little as well as the ring finger. The elbow may also appear to be unstable.
  5. Like the UCL injury, the Little League Elbow may cause pain, swelling, and stiffness on the pinky side of the elbow (inside of the elbow).

To evaluate and determine the exact cause of the elbow pain, a doctor may carry out the following diagnostic tests.

  1. Blood tests: In the case of arthritis, a blood test may help in a more accurate diagnosis.
  2. A doctor may also perform some imaging tests such as
    • An X-ray of the elbow.
    • A CT Scan and an MRI to see if there are any damages or injury to the ligaments, cartilages or tendons.
  3. A bone scan may come in handy in the case of stress fractures.

The treatment for elbow pain primarily depends on the condition that triggers it.

  1. In the case of arthritis of the elbow which causes pain and inflammation, the use of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), analgesics and corticosteroids provide great relief from the associated symptoms.
  2. Many people with elbow stiffness (there is a weakness, with people unable to even bend or straighten the elbow) benefit from physiotherapy which goes a long way to relieve the pain and strengthen the elbow.
  3. PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) injections may be used to treat elbow pain. The blood of the affected person is collected and centrifuged to obtain the platelet-rich plasma. The platelets are then injected into the affected site to speed up the recovery process.
  4. The use of cold compress and painkillers can also help to reduce the pain and the swelling. For better results, follow this with a hot compress.
  5. In extreme cases, a person may need an elbow surgery to treat the diseased condition. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Orthopedist.
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