What causes elbow pain?
There are two leading causes of elbow pain: conditions that develop over time, such as osteoarthritis, and injuries, like falls.
Osteoarthritis is a condition involving the gradual degeneration of joint cartilage. It often occurs in people who have a history of injuring their elbows.
The most common cause of elbow pain is a recent injury. Elbow injuries commonly occur when you’re:
- Playing sports
- Pursuing active hobbies
- At work
- Doing DIY projects
Elbow pain can also develop from overuse, where a little damage done frequently builds up over time. Overuse injuries of the elbow, such as tendonitis, tennis elbow, and golfer's elbow, cause inflammation in the soft tissues. The inflammation can cause considerable pain in your elbow and forearm.
Western Orthopaedics, P.C., understands that elbow pain can make everyday activities quite challenging and that a proper diagnosis is vital in determining the most effective course of treatment for your condition.
What conditions can cause elbow pain?
The types of elbow conditions Western Orthopaedics, P.C., sees most often include:
The olecranon is the bone at the tip of your elbow. It forms the hinge of your elbow joint, rotating around the end of the humerus (upper arm bone).
Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that help to protect your joints.
Radial head fractures
The radial head is one of the three bones that make up your elbow joint. The most common way to fracture the radial head is to land on your outstretched hand when you fall over.
Cubital tunnel syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome causes pain and weakness due to pressure on the ulnar nerve in your elbow.
Golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis)
Golfer’s elbow refers to tendonitis on the inside of your elbow. It is usually seen in older athletes who repetitively grip with the palm of their hand.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
Tennis elbow is the most common type of elbow tendonitis and affects the tendon on the outside of your elbow. It usually affects people who play racquet sports.
How is elbow pain treated?
Treatment for your elbow pain can vary depending on the cause. For instance, fractures might need surgical repair followed by immobilization in a cast or splint, while tennis elbow would benefit from rest and physical therapy. Bracing is another useful option, and you might need to take anti-inflammatory medication.
Degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis often respond well to joint injections, either steroids to reduce inflammation or hyaluronic acid to increase lubrication.
Regenerative medicine techniques could also promote new tissue growth and better healing. Western Orthopaedics, P.C., offers several types of regenerative medicine:
- Stem cell therapy
- Bone marrow aspirate
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
Some elbow problems might require surgery if a comprehensive non-surgical treatment program isn’t producing results.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation are also essential for optimal recovery when you have elbow pain.
To find out more about treatments for elbow pain, call Western Orthopaedics, P.C., today or request an appointment online.
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