Elbow pain is usually not life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable because you use your elbow in so many ways. The elbow is a complicated joint that allows you to extend and flex your hand and forearm, as well as rotate them. Because most movements involve a combination of these actions, pinpointing which one causes discomfort can be challenging.
Causes of Elbow Pain
Overuse is a common cause of elbow pain. Repetitive hand, wrist, and arm movements are required in many sports, hobbies, and jobs. Although arthritis can cause elbow pain, the elbow joint is significantly less susceptible to wear-and-tear deterioration than many other joints.
Possible causes of elbow pain include:
- Dislocated elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory joint disease)
- Stress fractures
- Trapped nerves
- Osteochondritis dissecans
- Throwing injuries
- Broken arm
- Tennis elbow
- Osteoarthritis (disease-causing the breakdown of joints)
Diagnosis of Elbow Pain
A review of the history and a physical examination are usually enough to identify the cause of pain. In most cases, no further investigation is required.
Further testing for some diseases may include X-ray examination, MRI scanning, arthrogram testing, and aspiration of fluid from the affected elbow area, as indicated above.
Treatment of Elbow Pain
Treatment is determined by the cause of the pain. Immobilization, anti-inflammatory drugs, and cold therapy are all options for treating uncomplicated inflammation. Casting and surgical interventions are two options for fracture treatment. Infections are treated with drainage and antibiotics.
When To See The Doctor
If rest and ice do not relieve the discomfort, or if the pain persists even when your arm is not moved, you should see a doctor. If your discomfort becomes unbearable, or if you see swelling, redness, or bruising around your elbow, you should see a doctor. Also, if you have difficulties bending your arm, consult your doctor.