Elbow Pain Causes and Treatment: Our hands are the most active parts when it comes to activity and work. They are prone to all forms of injury and pain, either external or internal. Most of these pains are normal and are resulted from mild tissue injuries, mainly due to fatigue. You can rectify those using painkillers, massage, and/or resting. However, persistent elbow pain may mean serious underlying problems.
- 1 All That You Need To Know About Elbow Pain
- 1.1 The Elbow Functionality
- 1.1.1 Causes of Elbow Pain
- 1.1 The Elbow Functionality
All That You Need To Know About Elbow Pain
When in pain, the first option is over the counter painkillers. This is especially advisable for pains that do not relate to joint pains. A joint serves the purpose of allowing movement of the connected body organs.
The synovial fluid lubricates the joints, which prevents friction between the organs during movement. When you have pain in the joints, such as elbow pain, all of these factors could be the problem.
The Elbow Functionality
The elbow is the middle joint of the arm and connects three long bones. The three bones, humerus, ulna, and radius, meet to form a hinge-type of joint. This is why you are able to move your arm up to a certain angle. For the two bones connecting to the forearm, they form a rotation joint at the elbow. With this joint, you can move your forearm at a 3600 angle.
For the hinge to work, the biceps and triceps muscles flex and extend the elbow, respectively. These muscles connect to the joint using tendons, which have pain-sensitive nerve endings. When these tendons are injured or overstretched, they can cause elbow pain. They tolerate pain to some extent and exceeding it, inflict pain in both the muscles and the joints.
The elbow joints themselves have some components that are important in the functionality of the arms. It has a lubricating fluid called bursa that reduces friction impact when you move the hinge. Since it at the tip of the elbow, the sac fluid is prone to interruption when pressure exceeds some limit. This is why the arm gets temporarily numb when you hit the elbow on a hard surface.
Among all joints, the elbow might be the most active since we keep moving our arms. With these numerous activities, any malfunction of the components can cause pain. The nerve endings are very sensitive to pain and the extent of injury caused will translate to the nature of the elbow joint. it is always advisable to consult a doctor in case of joint pains.
Causes of Elbow Pain
Any of the many elbow components can cause pain. The causes of elbow pain are either physical or disease and infections. The symptoms may be similar for both causatives but the extent of damage is different. Generally, diseases have more adverse effects than physical causes. On the other hand, physical injuries inflict more pain than diseases.
If you are sure you have not injured your elbow, the elbow pain could be a result of the disease. Some diseases affect the strength of the joint components and increase vulnerability to pressure. Even the mildest pressure can cause fractures of the elbow. The physical causes of elbow pain are:
Inflammation of The Bursa
The displacement of the synovial fluid causes Olecranon Bursitis. Other than the lubricating function, this fluid maintains the stability of the hands. It prevents the shaking of the tendons and muscles while in movement. Although is adequately protected, it is prone to displacement by sudden bumping of the elbow on a hard surface.
The first manifestation of the inflammation is numbness and a shock-like feeling. Depending on the extent of bumping, the period of elbow pain will differ. However, swelling of the elbow tip is a sign of serious bursa displacement. Although the hands can move, the hinge joint has some friction on reaching a certain angle and you experience pain.
Mild exercising of the hands can help resolve this problem. In case it is severe, administering of anti-inflammatory drugs can help rectify the joint pains. However, it is important to consult a medic since other joint problems could be the cause of the joint pains.
Tennis elbow pain is mainly because of injury to the outer bone of the elbow, lateral epicondylitis. As is it with all other bones, have tendons, which connect it to the muscles. These tendons have nerve endings that have hypersensitivity. Although the tendons are flexible, they have a tolerance limit, beyond which injury and elbow pain results.
Inflammation of part or all elbow tendons causes a tennis elbow. Any repetitive pressure applied to the tendons is likely to cause inflammation. For instance, when you playing tennis ball and keep backhanding. The elbow tends to get warm although there are no other symptoms. If the activity is strenuous enough, the elbow might swell.
The symptoms of tennis elbow are cumulative and not instant. It is common for you will experience elbow pain when you finish the activity. Rapid and consistent twisting of the hands is the major causes of this type of pain. However, the vulnerability will depend on the flexibility of muscle tendons. If you are used to such activities, the manifestations may be mild or non-existent.
The first treatment is by use of painkillers to relieve the pain. Periodic and strategic relaxation of the joint can relieve the swells, although it is painful. In case you want to proceed with the activity, ice cubes help to prevent the re-occurrence of the inflammation. However, it is important to contact a doctor if the effects are severe. Some elbow cases call for surgery or injections to relax the tendons.
When using the whole hand to do a straining job, such as slashing, you are likely to have a Golf elbow (Medial Epicondylitis). Although the upper joint of the hand is the main swinger, the hinge joint keeps opening and closing. This repetitive movement causes inflammations of tendons connected to the inner elbow. These tendons are very prone to injury and the impact can be severe.
One of the symptoms of Golf elbow is localized pain and some tender feeling on the elbow. The movement of the elbow remains normal, but you experience elbow pain from time to time. It is important to stop the activity in case of such an encounter. This is because the severity of the injury depends on the injury extent of the tendons.
There are different treatments for this pain depending on the nature of the injury. Painkillers and ice cubes are the main treatments for mild cases. For people who are used to strenuous activity, relaxation of the hand brings it to normal. For severe cases, medical straps and injections help reduce the symptoms and for treatment purposes. It is important to have some rehabilitation program before resuming with the activity.
The elbow bones are hard but excessive direct pressure results to fractures. The severity of the fracture ranges from total bone-breaking to mild fractures. All bones have tendons that attach them to muscles and give the bones sensitivity. Any impact that happens on the bones inflicts pain on the joint causing elbow pain.
With elbow fractures, it requires careful handling of the broken region. The broken parts could be accessing the nerves causing unbearable pain. It is the easiest cause of pain to detect but the hardest to treat fully. The only treatment for fractures is contacting an orthopedic specialist for either open joint surgery or orthopedic pinning.
Sprain of The Elbow
Sprains are the most common causes of elbow pain. It is the overstretching or tearing of a ligament due to pressure. Although the ligaments have an extension limit, it is dependent on many health and fitness factors. A sprain is usually a very sharp pain that occurs when doing some strenuous but fast activity. They mostly affect the arms and the legs.
Ligaments are quite fragile and a number of them could have an injury on a simple sprain. Activities that overextend the elbows cause this pain. Sometimes, the elbow jams, especially after a stiff but hard collision. This usually happens to people who are not used to straining their body muscles. The severity depends on the number of affected ligaments and the cause of immediate action taken.
When you experience an elbow sprain, it is important to visit a physician, in addition to first aid. Sprains are either partial or complete depending on the extent of the affected ligament. Complete sprains are detrimental and require specialized treatment. For partial sprains, resting, use of ice cubes and immobilization rectifies the problem. Anti-inflammation drugs are also useful for moderate sprains.
.The nerves transmit all senses to the brain and any interference causes elbow pains. When pinching (entrapment) of a nerve occurs, it causes a lot of pain. The ulnar nerve endings pass through the elbow tip and the inner elbow. This means that any pressure on the tip of the elbow can injure the nerve. This causes shaking of fingers and numbness.
It is a common experience especially when the elbow hits a surface, unexpectedly. For severe cases, doctors use splints to reduce the elbow movement or may perform surgery to relocate the ulnar nerve. Ice cubes offer a first aid alternative before consulting a physician.
Diseases that cause elbow pain
Some diseases affect the elbow joint and cause painful joint movement. In case you suspect the cause of persistent elbow pain, it is important to consult a doctor. They include:
It is a skin disease caused by Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria. The bacteria enter the joint through wounds and abrasions. They use body cells to produce toxins that affect the bursa fluid. The result is painful elbow movement and swelling. Although the manifestations are similar to physical injury, treatment-using painkillers do not heal the elbow pain.
Using antibiotics will reduce the activity of the bacteria and you will regain the bursa fluid.
Arthritis affects all joints of the body and causes painful joint motions. Inflammations of the elbow joint could be because of the variety of arthritis that affects the hinge joint. The symptoms of arthritis are pain, reduced angle of motion, tender and swelling joint, and fever-like symptoms. The most common distinguishing symptoms are excessive pains during the cold season.
Infections of the elbow joints cause a disease called Septic Arthritis. The signs and symptoms related to the type of bacteria and the extent of their toxicity. Severe infections of the joint may call for surgical drainage since the disease is cumulative. Reduced range of motion, swelling, and redness of the elbow are among the symptoms of this disease.
For milder cases, consumption of antibiotics suppresses this disease. This reduces the cases of elbow infection since it is common for people to take antibiotics. However, early detection of the infection is treatable but late detection is only manageable.
Tumors are swellings that are mainly because of over reproduction of cells. The cells form a swelling that affects the movement of the joint and pain if they contact nerve endings. Although they are easily detectable, they have the worst effects on the elbow joint. Some tumors are normally painless unless when pressed.
The bones of the elbow could experience tumors that could translate to cancer. In the beginning, the tumors can be painless but an increase in size over time leads to painful movements. Early screening and detection of the cause of the tumor is the only sure treatment. The use of X-rays can help determine the cause of the swelling.
NOTE: tumors are persistent swellings with no history of injury. They are mostly painless compared to the painful swells caused by the injury. Visit a doctor for verification.
Elbow pains are an indication of underlying joint problems. The level of injury inflicted on the elbow will determine the nature of handling and treatment. For mild pains, you can use pain relievers or ice cubes to relax the tendons. Simple exercises of relaxation and extension of the elbow are advisable except for fractures.
Broken elbows need immobility until when unattended by an orthopedic. It is always advisable to consult a doctor for elbow pains that are persistent. Keeping healthy and fit through body exercises builds stronger muscles and keeps the joints active. They reduce occurrences of minor elbow pains and their effects.