Ouch, my aching elbows!
From office workers to athletes, elbow pain is a common complaint. Tennis elbow, one example of elbow pain, can affect as many as one in three people.
Elbow pain may be a burning sensation due to inflammation. It could come in the form of a sharp pain due to dislocation. Elbow pain could only occur when performing certain motions, or it could create a constant, throbbing ache.
So what’s the reason for your elbow pain? Continue reading to learn more about what creates the aches and pains in your elbow.
Causes of Elbow Pain
Elbow pain is most commonly caused by overuse, trauma, and inflammation. Let’s explore some of the top sources of the discomfort.
- Sprain and Strains
If you overstretch or tear your elbow muscles or tendons, a strain occurs. If you injure your elbow’s ligaments, which connect bones, a sprain occurs. Both injuries are common sources of elbow pain.
Anyone can strain an elbow if they apply too much pressure, such as lifting heavy objects. Poor flexibility, hyperextension, elbow trauma, or overusing your elbow can also lead to a strain.
Elbow sprains are most common in athletes. They typically occur due to overuse or blunt force. Athletes who use racquets, throw balls, or participate in high-contact sports are most at risk.
Both elbow strains and elbow sprains are treated through rest, ice, and stretching exercises. Most sprains and strains take four weeks to fully recover. For professional athletes who are at risk of such injuries, stem cell therapy for elbow pain is available.
- Elbow Tendinitis
Elbow tendinitis occurs when the elbow’s tendons and connective tissue inflame. If swelling occurs at the epicondyle of the elbow tendon, the tendinitis may be referred to as epicondylitis.
Muscle weakness, overuse of the elbow joint, and overtraining lead to elbow tendinitis. Elbow pain can also occur if an athlete uses improper equipment or incorrect techniques.
Elbow tendinitis treatment follows the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Oral anti-inflammatory medication may be used to alleviate elbow pain. Physical therapy and strength exercises help your elbow decrease inflammation and prevent tendinitis from reoccurring.
- Elbow Bursitis
Elbow bursitis occurs when your elbow’s bursa inflames. Your bursa is a fluid-filled sac in the elbow. It cushions your elbow’s bones and tendons, preventing pain.
Falling on your elbow, overuse, and leaning on your elbows lead to elbow bursitis. The condition can also occur from medical conditions, like gout, or bacterial infection. Blood tests, MRIs, and X-rays detect elbow bursitis in a patient.
Elbow bursitis is treated primarily through medication. A patient may rely on Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) to decrease swelling. Antibiotics fight any infections from bacteria. Steroid injections decrease pain and inflammation. In severe cases, surgery can remove the bursa.
To prevent elbow bursitis, a person should rest their elbow whenever possible. Ice or a hot compress can lower inflammation. Physical therapy exercises make the elbow, lower the risk of future problems.
Keep Learning More
Elbow pain is no joke. When your elbow is consistently throbbing, it makes it hard to go about your day and complete daily tasks. Everyone should take precautionary measures to protect their bodies and prevent elbow injuries.
If you enjoyed learning about the causes of elbow pain, check out our other articles. From lifestyle hacks to travel tips, we’ve got the answers to all of your questions.