Elbow Pain in the Joint

By Fadel Taazieh, PT, DPT

Elbow Pain in the Joint

The elbow joint consists of three bones with the humerus (the upper arm bone), ulna, and radius, consisting of your forearm bones. Ligaments and muscles connect elbow bones to allow movement. These movements include 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 elbow’s outer portion 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 pain in the joint by JOI Rehab

Pain in the Elbow Joint

Elbow Bursitis

Elbow bursitis happens when the bursa gets inflamed. The Bursa is a thin, fluid-filled sac that prevents friction between the bone/tendon, located at the elbow’s boney tip. A notable presentation of olecranon bursitis is a tennis ball size shape due to swelling at the elbow’s tip. 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

Elbow fractures may result from a fall, a direct impact on 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 and a sprain, a 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 will determine the proper treatment.

Golfer’s Elbow

image of golfer finishing a swing

Golfer’s elbow can cause elbow pain.

Golfer’s elbow 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

image of male tennis player holding a racquet experiencing elbow pain

Elbow pain and tenderness could be tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow from overuse. 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 outside the elbow that becomes damaged, which causes pain with active movement, gripping, etc. Symptoms include pain/tenderness with palpation to the lateral forearm muscles, pain with gripping, and the forearm muscles’ weakness. 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 will determine proper treatment and return to activity pain-free.

JOI Rehab treats Elbow Pain in the Joint

image of patient receiving physical therapy for elbow pain

JOI rehab

Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has 12 physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville and Northeast FL, specializing in orthopedic rehab.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045. Come see us!

Related Article: Tennis elbow FAQ  and the Trevor Lawrence JOI Foundation Video.

JOI and JOI Rehab

JOI and JOI Rehab have developed a proven treatment approach to all injuries to the elbow.  Our therapists and physicians work together to provide the best possible outcome for our patients.  To schedule an new appointment with a JOI Physician, please schedule online here. 

By: Fadel Taazieh, PT, DPT

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