Causes and Treatment
Pain or discomfort in your elbows can affect just about every area of your life, making it difficult to eat, pick up or hold things, or participate in activities that you love. In many instances, the causes may be obvious—a traumatic injury suffered while playing sports or in some type of accident. On the other hand, conditions such as tendonitis of the elbow (often referred to as “tennis elbow”) can result from repetitive stress or motion. In some cases, repetitive stress or motion can be relatively low level, not causing any pain or discomfort initially, but then cumulatively leading to serious consequences.
Traumatic Elbow Injuries
There are generally three types of common elbow injuries caused by trauma:
- Strains and sprains—Conditions like strains and sprains usually result from a muscle or ligament that’s either torn or stretched beyond its normal range. When the injury is to a muscle, it’s called a strain. When it’s a ligament, it’s referred to as a sprain. Treatment typically includes the RICE approach—rest, ice, compression and elevation.
- Dislocations—When an elbow joint is pulled apart, it’s called a dislocation. The most common cause is putting a hand out to catch yourself during a fall. The treatment is simple, though often painful: your elbow needs to be popped back into place.
- Fractures—The elbow is an extremely hard bone, so it’s difficult to break. However, it can happen if you fall on pavement or a hard floor or make impact with a hard object. Don’t believe the old wives’ tale that an elbow isn’t broken if you can move it. If you experience intense pain that won’t go away, you should go to a hospital or urgent care facility.
Injuries that Occur Over Time
Many elbow injuries result from repetitive stress or motion:
- Bursitis—You have small sacs in and around your elbow that provide cushioning when ligaments and tendons move back and forth. When they get inflamed, it’s called bursitis. Rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication are typically prescribed.
- Tendonitis—Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are two common types of tendonitis caused by repetitive pulling on tendons at the elbow. Rest, ice and stretching often are sufficient to bring relief.
Contact SOAR for Experienced Medical Professionals
Let SOAR help you on your path to wellness. For more information about the range of services we offer, contact us today or call our offices at 844-434-SOAR.