Why Does My Elbow Hurt?

The elbow is formed with three bones at the joint, each with cartilage on the end. Your tendons connect your bones to muscle, which allows the movement of your arm in various ways. When any of these complex parts are impacted by trauma, overuse, or degenerative disease, elbow pain begins.

Common Causes of Elbow Pain:

  • Overuse in sports and recreation
  • Work-related function
  • Trip and falls

Common Elbow Conditions and Treatments:

  • Arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Bicep Tendon Tear at Elbow
  • Golfer’s Elbow
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Pitcher’s Elbow
  • Elbow Spurs and Bone Fragments
  • Radial Tunnel Syndrome
  • Elbow Instability
  • Elbow Bursitis
  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
  • Elbow Arthroscopy

Elbow overuse injuries include tendonitis, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, and what’s known as “Little League Elbow” with youth baseball. Inflammation can generate debilitating pain of the elbow and forearm, leading to bursitis and cubital tunnel syndrome. These elbow injuries stem from repetitive motion without direct injury to the joint. Wear and tear injuries also include trapped nerves, or stress fractures from repeated usage of the joint.

Tennis elbow is the result of repetitive movement resulting in pain to the outside of the elbow. Conversely, golfer’s elbow affects the inside of your arm. Cubital tunnel syndrome results from a pinch to the large ulnar nerve that goes along the elbow, traveling through the cubital tunnel. The numbness in your hands and fingers may feel much like carpal tunnel. Radial tunnel nerve pain is a similar condition, caused by impact to the radial nerve as it passes through the radial tunnel near the outside of your elbow. Symptoms include burning or numbness on the outside forearm and elbow.

You can often treat elbow pain at home with rest and a pause on activities that lead to discomfort. However, if your elbow condition becomes chronic you should consult a medical professional to evaluate your pain and put together a treatment plan. Increased pain, swelling or redness, and a loss of range of motion are all red flags for elbow pain.

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