One of the many parts of our body that are regularly overlooked and taken for granted is the elbow. Until it hurts – like when we knock our “funny bone” – we usually don’t think about it. But the elbow is an important joint and when it’s not working right, it can inhibit your most basic movements.
Your elbow joint steps into action any time you want to bend your arm to put on your clothes, get in and out of your car, pick up a baby, and use your arm in any way. But since it’s not a weight-bearing joint, it usually doesn’t get significant deterioration and is ignored.
If your elbow is hurting, though, don’t ignore it. It could be a sign of other problems going on that you can’t see.
Possible Reasons for Elbow Pain
- Tendinitis – Your elbow isn’t a bone, a joint, a tendon, or a ligament – it’s a combination of all three of these important body parts. Tendons do the job of connecting your bones and your muscles so that your elbow can bend. But when the two tendons in the elbow are overused from repetitive movement, it can result in a condition called “tendinitis.”
Tendinitis is inflammation in the tendon of the elbow and it occurs when your job or hobby causes you to regularly move your elbow in the same direction. The pain is usually felt spreading from the elbow to the top of your arm or from the elbow to your lower arm.
- Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow – Lateral epicondylitis, better known as “tennis elbow,” is a condition in which your elbow’s tendons are overused and the muscle is strained. The pain is mostly on the outside of your elbow. Golfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow, but the pain is on the inside of the elbow.
These conditions are easily explained as the result of regular use of a tennis racket or golf club, but you don’t have to be an athlete to be subjected to this problem.
If it doesn’t go away with self-care, contacting elbow specialists in your area is your next step for this painful elbow problem.
- Bursitis – Bursae are small sacs that are located over areas where friction is common. They are used to cushion the spot between tendons and bones that often rub together. But when those sacs are overused, they can become inflamed, resulting in a condition called “bursitis.”
Elbow bursitis can result from an impact to the body, or it can be due to a repetitive motion injury.
- Impact damage – When you fall unexpectedly, you usually stretch out your arm to reduce the impact of landing. The first jolt, then, is probably to your hand and wrist, but your elbow can also take the brunt of the force.
Elbow fractures aren’t always noticed at first. They might be little hairline fractures that get worse with use. But when you have one, you need to see a specialist because it likely won’t heal on its own with regular use.
Hurting Your Funny Bone Isn’t Funny – Get Help
One of the most painful places to hurt is your elbow, with it’s connection to the ulnar nerve. As children, we laugh it off as hitting our funny bones, but no matter how old you are, when that injury is serious or doesn’t go away, it’s time to get help.