Common Causes of Elbow Pain


Your Elbow is a wonder of movement. As a complex hinge joint, its anatomy for the flexion and extension of the forearm relative to the upper arm, as well as rotation of the forearm and wrist. With this wide range of motion comes the risk for injury and Elbow pain.

Elbow pain can also result from simple wear and tear—problems that are common around age 40.

Our orthopedics specialists can help evaluate and treat your elbow pain. Whether you need emergency help, physical therapy to heal from a sports-related injury, or a consult with an orthopedic doctor for medication or surgery, our team will guide you through diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. Here are common causes of elbow pain—and when to get help.

Symptoms include:

  • pain over in or adjacent to the elbow
  • elbow stiffness and limited mobility
  • pain when reaching or throwing
  • dull ache deep inside the elbow
  • pain that interferes with falling or staying asleep

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome involves pressure stretching of the ulnar nerve causing numbness into the ring and small fingers. This is also known as the funny bone nerve. The ulnar nerve runs and a groove on the inner side of the elbow and is commonly irritated from direct pressure.

Symptoms include:

  • causes weakness into the hand as well
  • this condition can cause pain, loss of sensation tingling and/or weakness
  • numbness is typically felt into the ring and small fingers
  • symptoms can be felt when the elbow was bent for long periods of time such as while sleeping or holding a phone with the elbow flexed for long periods of time.

Distal Biceps Tendon Problems

The biceps muscle runs in the front part of the arm. It allows the forearm to be rotated and flexed upward. People can develop biceps tendinitis, tendinosis or may have ruptures of the biceps tendon. The elbow will continue to work after a biceps tendon rupture. There are other muscles that can perform the job of the biceps. Patient’s likely will experience weakness when flexing the elbow. Most of the weakness after a biceps rupture occurs when attempting to supinate or twist the form with the palm up. Patient may also have issues with fatigue and repetitive motion. Patient with many medical problems are more likely to have tendon ruptures.

Symptoms include:

  • a biceps tendon rupture can be felt a pop or tearing sensation in the front of the elbow and can be painful
  • patients typically have pain, swelling, bruising and warmth of the elbow

Elbow Fractures

Many bones around the elbow can be fractured and are usually from a trauma. Treatment is dependent upon whether the fracture is stable or unstable.

Symptoms include:

  • patient will have pain and swelling typically with reduced motion of the elbow and forearm
  • patient should be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon if they have concerns of fracturing bone around the elbow.

Tennis Elbow (Medically Referred To As Lateral Epicondylitis)

This is a painful condition involving the tendons attached to the outside part of the elbow. These muscles help to straighten stabilize the wrist. With his condition there is degeneration of the tendons attachment with weakening of the attachment. This can lead to pain associated with activities such as lifting, gripping or grasping. Sports such as tennis or commonly associated with this problem but it can occur from any activities

Symptoms include:

  • pain is the most common symptom from this condition
  • the pain is localized to the outside of the elbow at the lateral epicondyle, the area can be tender to touch
  • pain is reproducible with any activity that places stress on the tendon such as gripping or lifting

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