What is Chronic Elbow Pain?

Elbow pain may involve the arm muscles, elbow ligaments and tendons, as well as the bones in the arm.

What are the Causes?

Overuse is usually the cause of elbow pain. Many sports, hobbies and jobs require repetitive hand, wrist or arm movements that can lead to elbow pain. Although elbow pain may occasionally be due to arthritis, your elbow joint is generally much less prone to wear-and-tear damage than are many other joints.

Common Causes of Elbow Pain Include:

  • Broken arm
  • Bursitis
  • Dislocated elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sprains and strains
  • Stress fractures
  • Tendinitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Throwing injuries
  • Trapped nerves

What are the Symptoms?

Common symptoms include:

  • Severe pain, swelling and bruising around the elbow joint
  • Trouble moving your elbow normally, using your arm or turning your arm from palm up to palm down and vice versa

See a doctor if you experience these symptoms:

  • Elbow pain that doesn’t improve after home care (see below)
  • Pain that occurs even when you’re not using your arm
  • Increasing redness, swelling or pain in the injured area

What are the Treatments?

Most elbow pain improves with simple home treatments, such as:

  • Protect. Keep the area from getting further injury.
  • Rest. Avoid the activity that caused your injury.
  • Ice. Place an ice pack on the sore area for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day.
  • Compression. Use a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation. Keep your arm elevated to help reduce swelling.