What Causes Elbow Injuries?
Many things can make your elbow hurt. A common cause is tendonitis, inflammation or injury to the tendons that attach muscle to bone. Tendonitis often occurs as a result of repetitive stress.
Other injuries may be due to direct impact in sports, car accidents, or from daily activities like leaning on the elbow or from a fall.
What Are the Most Common Elbow Injuries?
Elbow pain can stem from many issues including:
- Nerve Damage (cubital tunnel syndrome)
- Sprains and Strains
- Tendinopathy (Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow)
- Torn Ligaments
When Should You Seek Emergency Care For An Elbow Injury?
When Should You See A Doctor for Elbow Pain?
You should see a doctor right away if you are having severe pain, swelling and bruising around the joint; or if you are having trouble moving your elbow normally, using your arm or turning your arm from palm up to palm down and vice versa.
If home care (as described below) is not helping after 72 hours, you should schedule an office visit with your doctor, especially if the pain is occurring even when you are not using your arm and you have redness, swelling, and pain in the injured area.
What Can You Do At Home?
If you have a minor injury, elbow pain resolves on its own with a little self-care treatment at home. Initially, protect the area from any further injury, then follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method to treat your injury.
How Do You Diagnose Elbow Injuries?
During your visit, your doctor may order an arthrography or a bone x-ray to diagnose your injury.
Arthrography is a type of medical imaging used to help evaluate and diagnose joint conditions and unexplained pain. Examples of arthrography include computed tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or fluoroscopy (x-ray imaging).
A bone x-ray uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of any bone in the body. It is commonly used to diagnose fractured bones or joint dislocation.