Elbow pain is typically caused by overuse and sports injuries. The following are some conditions that can cause elbow pain:
- Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow) – tendinopathy of the inner tendons in the elbow commonly caused by repetitive movements resulting from work or household chores, a baseball pitcher’s repetitive throwing motion and golfer’s downward swing of a golf club.
- Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) – tendinopathy of the tendons on the outside of the elbow commonly caused by repetitive movements resulting from household chores, racquet sports and certain occupations.
- Olecranon Bursitis (Student’s Elbow, Miner’s Elbow, Draftsman’s Elbow) – inflammation of the small sacs of fluid (bursae) that help protect the pointed elbow bone typically caused by trauma (e.g., falling on the elbow or hitting it on a hard surface).
- Osteoarthritis (OA) – damage and deterioration of the cartilage (connective tissue in the joints) typically age-related but can also be due to a previous injury (e.g., elbow fracture).
- Elbow Strain – over-stretched or torn forearm flexor or extensor muscles typically caused by trauma or overuse.
- Elbow Sprain – over-stretched or torn ligaments (band of tissue that connects bone to bone) that can result from trauma or overuse.
- Elbow Dislocation – a bone moves from its usual position commonly caused by catching yourself during a fall or when you swing a toddler by the forearms (nursemaid’s elbow).
- Elbow Fracture – when a bone cracks or breaks typically resulting from a sudden blow (e.g., an auto accident or contact sports injury).
- Osteochondritis Dissecans (Panner’s Disease) – small pieces of cartilage and bone become dislodged in the elbow joint typically resulting from a sports injury.
Physical Therapy for Elbow Pain
Our therapy services are provided by experienced and skilled physical therapists. We work one-on-one with patients using compassion, creativity, and advanced therapy techniques, in a comfortable environment, to help patients achieve their goals and restore function. Individually designed therapy programs are carefully developed for patients with injuries and/or medical conditions related to the elbow.
Physical therapy treatment for elbow pain may include:
- Evaluation (pre- and post-op)
- Splints (custom & prefabricated)
- Patient/Family Education
- Written Home Programs
- Wound Care
- Kinetic Taping
- Thermal and Electrical Modalities
- Strength & Endurance Training
- Injury Prevention Programs
- Scar and Pain Management
- Edema Control
- Manual Therapy Desensitization
When to See a Doctor for Elbow Pain
Elbow pain is typically short-term and not a cause for concern. These can usually be treated with rest, ice therapy, medication and physical therapy. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms, it would be a good idea to consult with an orthopedic doctor.
- Your elbow doesn’t improve after treating with rest and ice therapy.
- Your elbow is painful even when you aren’t using your arm.
- Pain, redness or swelling continues to get worse instead of better.
- You are not able to move your elbow or arm normally.
- Normal, everyday activities are painful or becoming more difficult to do.
Fractures and dislocations are serious conditions requiring immediate medical attention. See a doctor right away if:
- Your elbow is intensely painful and has bruising and swelling around the joint.
- You notice an obvious deformity in your elbow.
- You are unable to move your able.
- Your elbow starts hurting following an injury or fall.