Elbow pain can be caused by a number of disorders; overuse and sports injuries being the largest contributing factor. Elbow disorders may involve arm muscles, elbow ligaments, tendons or bones in the arm.

Common Causes of Pain

As with other joints, injuries to the elbow can result from overuse or a blow, fall or other sudden trauma. Regardless of the cause, the result can be pain and difficulty doing daily activities. Here are some of the more common elbow injuries.

  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Bursitis
  • Biceps tendon tear
  • Dislocations

Try This at Home

  • Rest — Avoid putting weight on your elbow. Try to move as little as possible for the first few days.
  • Ice — Begin by putting a bag of ice on your elbow for at least 20 minutes at a time. Do this three to five times a day for three days after the injury. This helps reduce swelling and numb pain. Give yourself about 90 minutes between icing sessions.
  • Over-the-Counter Medication — Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Bracing — Use a brace to immobilize your elbow.

When to Seek Medical Attention

  • Pain does not go away
  • You have difficulty bending your elbow
  • You feel a locking sensation in the elbow
  • A grating sound is heard with movement
  • Swelling that will not go down

Injury Prevention

Most elbow disorders are the result of overuse and injury. Help prevent injury by …

  • Correcting improper sports techniques
  • Using a proper-sized grip on sports equipment
  • Using proper tension on rackets
  • Warming up and stretching properly
  • Using elbow padding
  • It’s also important to take breaks from repetitive tasks and practice exercises that can help strengthen the muscles around your elbow joint