Elbow Pain

Pain in the elbow is very common and usually affects gripping and pushing or pulling activities. It can happen to very active people or more sedentary lifestyles and can severely limit upper limb functional ability.
The elbow is made up of three bones; the humerus (upper arm), the radius and the ulna (forearm). There are many muscles in the area which help make the elbow move, the forearm and hand move, and even the shoulder.
Accurate diagnosis is imperative to inform treatment and management, often with the use of a support and activity modification. Symptoms are usually limited to a handful of problems which include:

• Tennis elbow is a term used to describe pain over the outer part of your elbow. The pain is usually from a muscle called the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) and the tendon that attaches it to the bone. More often than not there are other factors contributing to the pain from the joints in the area or the a nerve nearby. Of note – it is normally nothing to do with tennis! Check out our tendinopathy page for more info.

• Golfers elbow is a term used to describe pain over the inside of the elbow. This is normally due to overuse or ‘abuse’ of the flexor or ‘gripping’ muscles in your forearm. Check out our tendinopathy page for more info.
• A ‘Loose body’ is a small part of bone sometimes found to be floating around in the joint causing a limitation to movement and pain. Mobilisation can help this but often surgery is the main thing that will help resolve the problem.

• Elbow instability is rare and is nearly always related to trauma or a significant injury. The joint can feel like it gives way and can be painful. Learning how to adapt and control muscles and movement with rehabilitation can significantly improve the problem.

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