Most people experience some form of an elbow injury. It might have been minor, like experiencing the numbness or pain of bumping your “funny bone”, or it could be a more serious injury of sustained overuse, such as bursitis. Injuries from contact sports or repetitive work related tasks are usually the cause of these more serious elbow ailments. Acute injuries can be sudden and severe.
Causes of Elbow Pain
Elbow Pain can be caused by a direct blow, penetrating injury, fall, or by twisting, jamming, or bending a limb abnormally. Bruising and swelling usually develops from the injury, along with elbow pain. Fractures and dislocations, muscle strains, sprain, and injuries to joints and ligaments are some types of acute elbow injuries.This is usually a result of overuse or repetitive activities. The overuse may occur while playing tennis, golfing, throwing, lifting, swimming, carpentry, or even plumbing.
Forearm and elbow pain are common and it is usually aggravated by extension and flexing of the wrist. Ulnar nerve or Radial nerve entrapment occurs when the nerve connected to the ulna or radial bone is pinched. Pain and numbness will extend from the elbow to the fingers and hand of the associated nerve.
What Are the Symptoms of an Elbow Injury?
When too much stress is placed on the elbow joint or muscle tissues, a more serious type of elbow injury occurs. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, a fluid filled sac between joints. When the bursa inflames the elbow will swell and ache. Olecranon bursitis appears as swelling in the “funny bone”. In traumatic cases, redness due to the inflammation or an infection.
Heat and hardness of the affected area will accompany an infection in the bursa. If an infection is suspected, it is important to consult a doctor immediately for testing and treatment. Some people who have been diagnosed with gout or rheumatoid arthritis may be afflicted with Olecranon bursitis. A pinched nerve or infection will also cause severe swelling, elbow pain, or other symptoms. A more serious elbow ailment may be osteoarthritis, which is when the cartilage wears down and the bones rub directly against each other. Epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, is the most common syndrome affecting the muscle and soft tissue of the elbow and is caused by inflammation of the soft tissues. A person may also experience burning or tingling when the elbow is flexed, but nerve tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Acupuncture is most common in the treatment of elbow pain and has been proven to be most effective.