Elbow Pain


Elbow pain is defined as a sensation of aching or discomfort felt in the elbow area, associated to the soft tissues that attach muscles to the bones.

Elbow Pain – Conditions

A series of elbow conditions lead to the onset of elbow pain. The most common conditions are:

a) Arthritis: Most common forms of arthritis affecting the elbow include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and infectious arthritis.

b) Bursitis: Also called olecranon bursitis, it normally occurs because of an injury or constant pressure on the elbow.

c) Fractures: This happens because of falling on an outstretched hand or directly on the tip of the elbow. It can also lead to a dislocation or other types of fractures.

Other causes and conditions of elbow pain include

• Ankylosing spondylitis

• Cellulitis

• Gout

• Psoriatic arthritis

• Rheumatoid arthritis

• Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

• Radial Tunnel Syndrome

• Osteochondritis Dessicans

• Elbow strains and sprains

• Tendonitis (Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow)

• Tumors

• Ruptured muscle or tendon

• Ulnar nerve entrapment

In addition, the funny bone sensation is also a typical condition, which is a result of the irritation of a nerve at the elbow, causing numbness and tingling of the inner elbow, forearm as well as little and ring fingers.

Certain forms of bacteria can also infect the skin of a scraped or abraded elbow and cause pain.

Elbow Subluxation

This is a very common form of partial dislocation in children. Also referred to as the ‘nursemaid’s elbow’, it happens when someone tries to pull a straightened arm. The bones are stretched apart shortly and ligament slips in between, where it becomes trapped when the bones try to snap back into place.

Children normally refuse to use the affected arm but cry out at any attempt to bend or straighten the elbow.

Treatment Options

The main diagnostic tools applied for elbow pain include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI Scan), cortisone injections and arthroscopy.

The treatment plan of elbow pain depends largely upon the nature of the patient’s underlying disease or condition. Here we list the main treatment options available or various conditions associated to elbow pain.

A) Medications

• Acetaminophen (Paracetamol)

• Celecoxib

• Etodolac

• Ibuprofen

• Naproxen

B) Home Care

The following steps, if taken in time, can considerably reduce the intensity of elbow pain:

• Apply an ice pack for 15 minutes every hour for the first day. Repeat this procedure for 3 to 4 hours for up to 3 days.

• Wrap the elbow with a bandage

• Keep the elbow elevated above your heart

• Give the elbow joint complete rest for at least 2 days

• Take help form a physiotherapist to gradually strengthen the muscles around the affected area