Elbow pain: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis

Your elbow lets you throw, lift, swing, and hug, for starters. You can do all this because it’s not a simple joint. And that means, from sports injuries to even elbow, there are a lot of ways things can go wrong.

The elbow is a complex hinge joint that connects the two bones in the lower arm – the radius and the ulna – with the humerus bone at the forearm. The elbow is technically made of up three separate joints that allow you to bend, straighten, and rotate the arm to varying degrees. The elbow is particularly susceptible to overuse, which can lead to a sprain or inflammation in the inner and outer parts of the elbow, a common condition for golfers and tennis players.

Elbow pain: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis


Common causes of elbow pain include:

  • Broken arm

  • Bursitis (joint inflammation)

  • Dislocated elbow

  • Golfer’s elbow

  • Osteoarthritis (disease causing the breakdown of joints)

  • Osteochondritis dissecans

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory joint disease)

  • Sprains and strains

  • Stress fractures

  • Tendinitis

  • Tennis elbow

  • Throwing injuries

  • Trapped nerves


Common Elbow Complaints

The most common complaints about elbows are inflammation, swelling, and nerve pain caused by athletic overuse or chronic joint conditions like osteoarthritis. The elbow is a complex meeting of many muscles making it a common site for injury and an important contributor to completing everyday tasks.


Medications to Treat Elbows

Medications to ease pain, relieve inflammation, slow bone loss, modify the course of an inflammatory disease or prevent joint damage are an important part of treatment for many elbow problems. The medications used to treat arthritis and other problems of the elbows will depend largely on the form of arthritis or related condition you have.

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