Elbow Pain

Elbow Pain

 Elbow pain can cause a lot of discomfort. Read on for more information on elbow pain.

The room was quiet and John lay on his side watching television. As he got up and began tidying the bed to go to sleep he felt an excruciating pain in his elbow. Taken by surprise, he sat down on the bed and touched the area and found that it was swollen. He sat in the same place for several minutes trying to recall where he could have hurt his elbow. Not able to recall a thing, he went into the kitchen and rubbed some ice over the spot, hoping that the pain and swelling would subside!

elbow pain and numb fingers

What the factors that cause elbow pain?

There are many factors that can cause pain in the elbow, with one of them being tendinitis, which is an injury and inflammation that is caused to the tendons. Most of the people who are at risk of developing elbow pain are those who play racquet sports. The term given to the injury caused because of the above is termed tennis elbow. Of course gardening, using a screwdriver, playing baseball and overusing your wrist may also be the cause of elbow tendinitis.

Apart from the causes mentioned above, a few other factors that contribute to the pain in the elbow are:

  • Strain in the elbow
  • Any type infection that occurs in the elbow
  • Arthritis – This term refers to the narrowing of the joint space as also the loss of the cartilage in the elbow.
  • Bursitis – In this case, there is an inflammation of a fluid-filled cushion that is located underneath the skin.

What are the symptoms associated with elbow pain?

Pain, numbness, swelling, tingling and weakness or changes in the color or temperature are some of the common symptoms of elbow pain.

Can I reduce the elbow pain at home?

Yes, you can reduce the pain in the elbow at home. Here are some steps to help you reduce the pain.

  • Apply ice by wrapping it in a cloth for about 15 minutes every hour on the first day you notice the pain. Continue applying ice for up to 3 days while increasing the number of hours for e.g. use the application every 3 to 4 hours after the first day.
  • Once that is done, wrap the elbow with a bandage. You can also use an air splint to prevent using the elbow.
  • If possible, keep your elbow elevated above you heart and give the elbow rest for at least 2 days. It is advisable that you do not return to the activity that resulted in the problem for about 3 weeks.
  • Once you find that the pain and swelling has subsided, gradually strengthen the muscles with the help of a physical therapist.

When is it advisable to contact a medical professional?

It is advisable to meet a medical professional if:

  • The pain does not improve with the above steps.
  • The elbow cannot be used effectively.
  • The pain in the elbow is caused because of a direct elbow injury.
  • The pain in the elbow is accompanied by fever, swelling and redness.
  • There is deformity.

Can elbow pain be prevented? How?

Yes, you can prevent elbow pain. Follow these steps to prevent elbow pain.

  • First of all reduce the amount of time you spend in the activity that is the reason for the pain.
  • Than warm up slowly, by stretching the forearm before as well as during and after the exercise.
  • While playing use an elbow sleeve and the correct grip size as also racquet strings that are not too tight. If you have already suffered an injury, you could use an elbow band too.
  • If you have been told to exercise, carry of the regime without fail!

By Rachna Gupta
Published: 1/7/2008

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