Elbow pain is an annoying problem to say the least. Let’s put aside the elbow pain that comes from a fracture, dislocation or tendon rupture. That is an emergent problem that you need to take care of right away. What is left is another sort of elbow pain.
It is a pain that frequently comes on gradually and stays and stays and stays. Anytime you grab a glass or turn a door knob, there it is saying, “I’m still here. ” It may get better with rest but as soon as you try to twist, grip or turn something, there it is. You have taken an anti-inflammatory. It took some of the edge off. Didn’t last. You just want it fixed. What do you do?
There are a number of entities that can cause elbow problems like those described above. They include what’s commonly called tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow as well as bursitis and arthritis.
Let’s talk about one of the most common pains about the elbow. That is the pain that occurs over the inside or outside of the elbow near the bony prominences. It is due to an inflammation of the bony attachment of the muscles that either extend the wrist on the outside or flex the smaller fingers of the hand on the inside.
It is due to repetitive gripping of the hand in a situation where the muscles are not conditioned to handle the frequency or intensity of contractions. The repetitive pulling on the boney attachment exceeds the strength of the attachment and the fibrous attachment starts weakening. The body tries to repair the attachment but without appropriate rest or strengthening the healing tissue is not strong enough to stand up to the use and the repair gets pulls apart.
There are other problems that cause elbow pain. These occur inside the joint or over the prominence of the elbow. They may be associated with swelling or catching. If problem is not severe, there are some treatments you can start at home. If you don’t feel comfortable starting treatment on your own, you should of course see a doctor.
The first thing you do in any event is rest. That not only means doing less with your elbow, but also with your wrist and your hands as well. What moves the hand is attached at the elbow. Pain is telling you that the structure involved is not strong enough to do what you are asking it to do. So you have to ask it to do less even to the point of doing nothing if you have to. If you do that the pain should decrease and stop.
If you go to use it and the pain picks up again, that means you exceeded what the injured part is able to do. You stop. You need to use it less. In short the goal is to use that arm within the pain free range of activity.
There are some tricks you can do to use your hand and elbow more without aggravating your elbow. One is to use the noninvolved hand more if possible. It might feel awkward at first, but the more you practice the better you will get.
Another trick is to change the grip of any tool you might be using. You will want to go with a thicker grip that will make it easier to use the tool. Wrapping the handle with something that is rough and a good absorbent will also help. The result is that you won’t have to squeeze the handle as hard to get a secure grip. For you golfers with pain in your elbow, also known as golfer’s elbow, have someone check your swing out.
Once you have found an activity where you don’t have pain you can’t stop. If you stop you probably aren’t going to be able to get back to where you were. So that is where an appropriate rehabilitation program comes in. That’s another place where a doctor can help you.
If you don’t have success with any of these approaches then it might mean that the problem is too big for you body to handle on its own. In this case you may need surgery. A doctor can guide you down the path of treatment to recovery.
Normal Anatomy of the Elbow
The arm in the human body is made up of three bones that join together to form a hinge joint called the elbow.
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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition characterized by compression of the ulnar nerve in an area of the elbow called the cubital tunnel.
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Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition characterized by elbow pain due to overuse or overstretching of the elbow. The pain is caused from damage to the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the elbow.
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An elbow fracture results from a break or crack in one or more of the bones that make up the elbow joint
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Biceps Tendon Repair
The biceps muscle is located in front of your upper arm. It helps in bending your elbow as well as in rotational movements of your forearm.
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Elbow arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery, is performed through tiny incisions to evaluate and treat several elbow conditions.
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Elbow Joint Replacement
Elbow Joint Replacement, also referred to as Total Elbow Arthroplasty is an operative procedure to treat the symptoms of arthritis that have not responded to non-surgical treatments.
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The elbow is a hinge joint that consists of three bones, the humerus (upper arm), radius (forearm) and ulna (forearm).
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Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis
The elbow contains a large, curved, pointy bone at the back called the olecranon, which is covered by the olecranon bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that allows smooth movement between the bone and overlying skin. Inflammation of this bursa leads to a condition called olecranon bursitis.
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Elbow Fractures in Children
The elbow is a hinge joint that consists of three bones, the humerus (upper arm), radius (forearm) and ulna (forearm). An elbow fracture in a child most commonly occurs when your child falls on an outstretched arm or directly on the elbow,
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Forearm Fractures in Children
The radius (on the thumb side) and ulna (on the little-finger side) are the two bones of the forearm. Forearm fractures can occur near the wrist, near the elbow or in the middle of the forearm.
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Radial Head Fractures
The elbow is a junction between the forearm and the upper arm. The elbow joint is made up of 3 bones, namely the humerus in the upper arm which articulates with the radius and ulna in the forearm.
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Rupture of the Biceps Tendon
The biceps muscle is located in the front of your upper arm. It helps in bending your elbow, rotational movements of your forearm and maintaining stability in the shoulder joint. It has two tendons, one of which attaches it to the shoulder bone
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Click on the topics below to find out more from the orthopedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
- Arthritis of the Elbow
- Biceps tendinitis
- Broken arm
- Colles’ fracture
- Dislocated Elbow
- Elbow Bursitis
- Elbow Fractures in Children
- Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Injury)
- Forearm Fractures in Children
- Olecranon (Elbow) Fractures
- Radial Head Fractures
- Rupture of the biceps tendon
- Tennis Elbow
- Throwing injuries in the elbow
- Ulnar nerve entrapment