The elbow is an important part of the human body’s anatomy. It’s the joint between the forearm and the upper arm that allows you to bend the arm. Are you experiencing elbow pain, but aren’t sure what’s causing it? Several things can cause elbow pain ranging from hitting your funny bone to dislocating your elbow, all of which are unpleasant.
Symptoms of elbow pain may vary based on the condition and the severity. However, the main symptoms of elbow pain include discomfort or soreness along with a decreased range of motion. More severe elbow pain can cause a weak grip, tingling from the elbow down to the fingertips, and nausea. The pain may feel like it is coming from the bone, joint, muscle, or tendons.
Tendinopathy / Tendinosis
Tendons are what connects muscles to bones. Tendons respond to mechanical load/overload over time.When tendons are exposed to their physiological limit through overload they will break down structurally and cause pain and weakness.To this point we are still uncertain what exactly causes the pain that is experienced with tendon damage.We do however know that tendons will respond favourably to resistance training .Often stretching and compressing the tendon will aggravate symptoms.
Arthritis occurs when joints become inflamed. It can affect one or multiple joints at a time. Symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling as well loss of mobility and locking. You may notice the signs develop over a period of time or they can appear without warning. Arthritis is most common in obese females over the age of 65. However, arthritis can affect both genders at any age or weight.
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that surround the area where muscles, tendons, and skin meet. They work like grease for your joints and provide lubrication to your bones. Bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed, causing pain and discomfort. Treatments for bursitis include resting, pain medication, antibiotics, corticosteroids, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery. After treatment, the symptoms may disappear, but bursitis can also become chronic if the underlying drivers to bursitis are not addressed such as muscle imbalance/weakness.
Tennis elbow occurs in people who engage in repetitive activity that involve rotating the wrist, such as tennis, swimming, and golfing. This condition is when a tendon in the forearm, extensor carpi radialis brevis, becomes damaged. Symptoms of tennis elbow are elbow pain that is mild and gradually becomes worse, pain from the outside of the elbow down the forearm, and increased pain when shaking or squeezing an object. You may have the inability to grip or pain when lifting something, using tools, and opening jars. A physical exam, x-ray, or MRI can diagnose tennis elbow. Treatments include rest, ice, physical therapy, steroid injections, shock wave therapy, and even surgery.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains occur when a joint, such as the elbow, is twisted while bearing weight. For example, an elbow could become sprained or strained while doing a cartwheel or lifting something heavy. Symptoms of sprains and strains include limited mobility, pain, swelling, cramping, and muscle spasms. The most common forms of treatment for sprains and strains include rest, icing the elbow, applying compression, elevating the arm, over-the-counter medication to reduce pain and inflammation, and a soft cast.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Have you ever heard of the Cubital tunnel syndrome? Maybe you’ve heard the expression “I just hit my funny bone.” Cubital tunnel syndrome happens when the ulnar nerve is compressed, or hit. The ulnar nerve is the main nerve in your arm that runs all the way from your neck to the tips of your last three fingers. The most common and obvious symptoms of Cubital tunnel syndrome are sharp elbow pain along with numbness and tingling that runs from the elbow to the fingers. To prevent Cubital tunnel syndrome, avoid activities that require a bent elbow for a long period. Do not sit at a desk with the chair too low and avoid leaning on your elbow or the side of your arm. You should also try to sleep with your elbow straight.
Dislocation is just what it sounds like. When a bone becomes dislocated, it slips out of the joint. This can happen to just about any joint, but the most common are the knee, elbow, hip, ankle, or shoulder. This is a medical emergency and needs to be treated urgently in a hospitals emergency department setting.