Various problems can lead to elbow pain, including:
The elbow joint is something you rarely think about – until it starts to hurt. Putting on clothes with an aching elbow joint can be frustrating and painful. Elbow pain can interfere with simple daily tasks like dressing, cooking, driving and more. Plus, impaired elbow function can affect your job performance – perhaps your ability to even perform your duties – and may completely rule out recreational activities.
The elbow is a hinge joint that is the meeting place of the upper arm bone (humerus) and the forearm bones (ulna and radius). The ulna is the forearm bone on the pinky finger side of your arm and the radius is the bone on the thumb side. The ulna and humerus meet to form a hinge which allows bending and straightening of the arm. The radius and humerus meet to provide limited rotational movement.
Ligaments on the front, back and sides of the elbow joint provide stability for the joint. The ulnar collateral ligament on the inner side of the elbow is the primary stabilizing force of the elbow. This could explain why tennis elbow is a common elbow injury: it affects the outer side of the elbow.
The biceps muscle is attached to the radius and is involved in bending and rotating the arm at the elbow. The triceps muscle is connected to the ulna and is involved in straightening the arm at the elbow.
Running along the arm from the shoulder to the hand is the ulnar nerve, which lies close to the skin at the elbow. When the elbow bumps against something or is hit in a particular way, the ulnar nerve produces a distinct, uncomfortable feeling. Though people refer to this as “hitting the funny bone,” there’s no bone involved!
Elbow pain can arise from a variety of problems but one common cause is overuse injuries from sports or activities that involve repetitive motions. Common causes of elbow pain include:
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