Injuries in general, such as recreational activities, work-related tasks, work or projects around the home and falls, but especially sports injuries, are the most common cause of elbow pain. Since most blows to the elbow are not strong enough to fracture it, it is usually the ligaments and the tendons that become injured. The injuries usually involve a tear in the annular ligament, which wraps around the radius bone to the humerus and takes all the strain when the lower arm turns, as in twisting a screwdriver, turning a key or hitting a massive topspin lob. Elbow pain can also involve tendons, such as in the case of tennis and golfer’s elbow. In tennis elbow, the injury involves the extensor tendons that move the wrist up, while in golfer’s elbow it involves the flexor tendons that move the wrist down. Elbow and hand pain are often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome, which involves the entrapment of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist into the hand.
How does elbow pain develop? Eighty percent of chronic elbow pain is due to a sprain of the annular ligament, whose job it is to attach the radius bone to the ulnar bone. Because of the tremendous demands placed on the fingers and hands to perform repetitive tasks, the annular ligament is stressed every day and will eventually become lax and a source of chronic pain. Chronic elbow pain can also be caused by an ulnar collateral ligament sprain. This ligament supports the inside of the elbow and is responsible for holding the ulnar bone to the distal end of the humerus.
Other causes of elbow pain include tendonitis, which can occur as a result of activities such as gardening, playing baseball, using a screwdriver or overusing the wrist. Young children may develop "nursemaid's elbow," which happens when someone pulls on their straightened arm. The bones are stretched apart momentarily and a ligament slips in between, where it becomes trapped when the bones try to snap back into place. Other causes of elbow pain include bursitis, arthritis, elbow strains and infections.
What are the symptoms of elbow pain?
Common symptoms include pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, weakness or changes in temperature or color. Individuals may not recall having a specific injury, especially if symptoms began gradually or during everyday activities.
Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of elbow pain, but they do not address the root of the problem. By strengthening structural weaknesses in the elbow, as regenerative treatments like Prolotherapy do, chronic elbow pain may be alleviated permanently.
The treatment regimens suggested here are based on the experience of Caring Medical. They do not apply to every case or condition. A person using these recommendations without the aid of a personal physician does so at their own risk.
This information is provided for informational purposes only. It is essential to have your condition evaluated by your own personal physician.
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