What are common elbow injuries?

Many things can make your elbow hurt. A common cause is tendinitis, an inflammation or injury to the tendons that attach muscle to bone. Tendinitis of the elbow is a sports injury, often from playing tennis or golf. You may also get tendinitis from overuse of the elbow.

Local Physiotherapists

Anneliese Ruggeri

Anneliese Ruggeri

Physiotherapist
Middlebury, CT
Mr. Trevor Kwolek

Mr. Trevor Kwolek

Physiotherapist
Fonthill, ON
Chritine Bridle

Chritine Bridle

FCAMPT, CAFCI
Physiotherapist
St Catherines, ON

Margharita Cirillo, MPT, Physiotherapist, discusses what types of injuries cause elbow pain and how are they treated.

Quiz: Do You Understand Elbow Injuries?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Bursitis can cause elbow pain.

Explanation:
There are a number of causes of elbow pain, including ligament sprain, bursitis, bone injury or a nerve irritation local to the elbow or referred from the neck, upper back or shoulder.
2

Pain felt along the outer aspect of the elbow or forearm is known as golfer's elbow.

Explanation:
Pain felt along the outer aspect of the elbow or forearm is known as extensor tendinopathy, or more commonly referred to as tennis elbow. Pain experienced on the inner aspect of the elbow or forearm is typically known as flexor tendinopathy or golfer’s elbow.
3

Stretching the muscle may be an effective treatment for elbow pain.

Explanation:
There are a number of treatment options for elbow injuries and pain, including stretching the muscle or conditioning the muscle around the scar tissue to increase blood flow to the area to help heal.
4

Surgery is usually the first treatment for elbow injuries.

Explanation:
Surgery can be an option for elbow injuries, however, it’s usually reserved for patients who have undergone other treatments and still remain symptomatic beyond six months. Surgery involves excising the scar tissue around the area that’s painful and allowing blood flow to come in to heal this process.
5

A physiotherapist can help you create an appropriate treatment plan.

Explanation:
A physiotherapist can perform an assessment to determine an appropriate treatment plan to help you reduce pain and regain your normal strength and function.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Johnny Yiu, physiotherapist, discusses symptoms of medial elbow pain.

What Types Of Injuries Cause Elbow Pain and How Are They Treated?

There are a few different causes for elbow pain.

For example, it might include a ligament sprain, bursitis, bone injury, such as a fracture or dislocation, or maybe even a nerve irritation either local to the elbow or it might be referred from up higher from the neck, or the upper back, or the shoulder.

However, one of the most common causes for elbow pain is due to repetitive strain or overuse of the muscles of the forearm. So eventually, the muscle and tendon can become overloaded at the point at which it attaches to the tendon and this can ultimately result in pain or weakness with any hand movements as well as making everyday activities basically quite challenging to perform and a local physiotherapist could help you.

So pain felt along the outer aspect of the elbow or forearm is known as extensor tendinopathy or more commonly referred to as tennis elbow, while pain experienced on the inner aspect of the elbow or forearm is typically known as flexor tendinopathy or as golfer’s elbow.

So, playing tennis and golf are not the only reasons for experiencing tennis or golfer’s elbow. It’s typically associated with any occupational, or leisure, or sporting activities that involve any repetitive or prolonged gripping, lifting, writing, playing a musical instrument, or any activity really that involves repetitive use of the wrist or the hand.

So basically, an easy way to help you determine if you might think that you have tennis elbow is to see if you can reproduce that pain on the outside of your elbow specifically by resisting extension of your third finger.

This is a muscle that is specifically attached to this part of the elbow and therefore that muscle contraction can help to differentiate this from a different, kind of, injury such as a ligament.

So there are a few components involved in treating an elbow injury so a good person to see is your local physiotherapist. They can perform an assessment to determine where exactly your pain is coming from. And then based on that assessment they can determine an appropriate treatment plan in order to help you reduce your pain and to help regain your normal strength and function.

So they may choose to incorporate a variety of techniques as part of your treatment plan. This might involve hands on therapy such as joint mobilization or soft tissue techniques. They may use needling techniques such as acupuncture or intramuscular stimulation.

And also of importance is postural reeducation as well as a specific home exercise program in order to help you regain your – resume your regular activity levels and hopefully to prevent any future re-injury.

Local Pain Specialist 

Presenter: Ms. Margherita Cirillo, Physiotherapist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy Now

Physiotherapy Now

QA Chat
Ask us a health question on
diagnosis/treatment options...