The elbow functions as a hinge for your arm, allowing movement and ease of range. The elbow is a joint, composed of a complex set of bones and muscles, like the biceps and triceps. When these muscles, tendons, nerves, and bones are injured or irritated, it can cause mild to severe elbow pain.
Because elbow pain is a general term, there are a number of factors that may be the culprit. Usually causes of elbow pain are related to injuries caused by sports or accidents, and sometimes disease.
Common causes of elbow pain include:
While symptoms vary on a scale from mild to severe, many of the signs and indicators are the same. Patients should see a doctor if:
Patients should seek immediate emergency care if there are signs of a deformity in the elbow, or if bone is protruding.
Causes of elbow pain can be diagnosed several ways, through techniques like physical exams, X-rays, CT scan, MRI, EMG, and sometimes biopsy if fluid is present in the joint.
Treatment plans differ depending on a patient’s diagnosis. Usually, elbow pain is not serious and can be treated at home with rest, application of ice, compression bandages, anti-inflammatory medications, and elevating the elbow to reduce swelling.
If hospitalization or a doctor’s visit is necessary, in-office treatments range from steroid injections and medications to surgery.