Elbow Pain in the Joint
By Fadel Taazieh, PT, DPT
Elbow Joint Pain
The elbow joint consists of three bones with the humerus (the upper arm bone), ulna, and radius which consist of your forearm bones. These bones are connected by strong ligaments and muscles to allow movement including bending your elbow, throwing, lifting, etc. The ulnar collateral ligament is located on the inside of the elbow and provides stability during valgus forces. The radial collateral ligament is located on the outer portion of the elbow and provides stability during varus forces. As with other joints in our body, injuries to the elbow can result from overuse or a blow, fall, trauma resulting in pain and limited function. Let’s take a look at some common elbow injuries
Elbow bursitis occurs when the bursa, which is a thin, fluid-filled sac that prevents friction between the bone/tendon, located at the boney tip of the elbow gets inflamed and causes pain. A notable presentation of olecranon bursitis is a tennis ball size shape due to swelling at the tip of the elbow. Some causes include trauma, prolonged pressure by leaning at the tip of the elbow, infection, and medical conditions such as RA and gout. Treatment includes oral medications, aspiration (draining fluid from the bursa), and activity modifications.
Elbow fractures may result from a fall, a direct impact to the elbow, or a twisting injury to the arm. A visible deformity will be noticeable at the elbow joint and increased pain with any attempted movement. A dislocation is also possible with a fracture as well as a sprain, strain of soft tissue structures. Treatment for a fracture includes surgical and non-surgical approaches depending on the severity of the fracture. An evaluation by a Physician is indicated for proper treatment.
Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain on the inside of the forearm where the muscles attach the bony structure at the elbow joint. Golfers are prone to this condition due to the stress when hitting the ball which can create pain. Symptoms include pain and tenderness to the muscles located on the inside forearm, stiffness, weakness with gripping, and numbness/tingling that can radiate into the fingers. Damage to the muscles is related to excess and repetitive stress during lifting, throwing, racket sports, and repetitive occupational movements. Treatments include strengthening forearm muscles, stretching, cryotherapy, and massage.
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse typically. Playing tennis or other racquet sports can cause this condition due to the repetitive stresses obtained when hitting the ball using the racquet. Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons on the outside of the elbow that become damaged, which causes pain with active movement, gripping, etc. Symptoms include pain/tenderness with palpation to the lateral forearm muscles, pain with gripping, and weakness of the forearm muscles. The patient will require modification of activity, massage, cryotherapy, stretching, and examination of activity that caused inflammation to determine if modification is needed. An examination by a Physician or physical therapy is indicated for proper treatment and return to activity pain-free.
Whether you are suffering from elbow issues, joint pain, or injuries resulting from any type of activity, JOI has 12 physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville and Northeast FL who specialize in orthopedic rehab.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045. Come see us!
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