What to do About Elbow Pain
Elbow Pain Explained
Elbow pain is very common and often easily treatable by following the correct treatment programme. Your elbow joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments, bursa and fluid and movement is made by the muscles and tendons of this joint. If any one of these structures are damaged or diseased this will lead to elbow pain.
What are the symptoms? Symptoms will vary according to the tissue damaged and the most common tendon injuries are Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and Golfer’s Elbow (medial epicondylitis). Oddly, you do not have to play tennis or golf to suffer from these symptoms!
Tennis elbow is characterised by pain and tenderness in the elbow and in the back of the forearm and this is made worse by using the elbow. Symptoms vary in severity and duration, but usually include most of the following:
Golfer’s elbow is similar but location of the pain is on the inside of the elbow
Why do I have elbow pain? Excessive, repeated or sustained use of the muscles that extend the wrist can cause irritation of the tendons. Tennis elbow happens most commonly when you suddenly use your forearm muscles a lot without having used them much before, such as using power tools or a screwdriver for DIY or working in your garden. Even if you are used to this type of work, you can still overdo it.
Our Chartered Physiotherapists can help diagnose your symptoms and have you back on the road to recovery in no time
The good news is most symptoms will resolve by themselves unfortunately this can sometimes take up to a year.
By avoiding the activities which aggravate your symptoms and identifying any factors which may contribute to your symptoms you can help control your symptoms and over the counter painkillers can be taken to treat mild pain. Your GP may prescribe anti-inflammatory to ease pain and inflammation. These are often available in creams or gel form, which can be rubbed over the affected area. You should discuss the use of any medication with your GP and/or pharmacist.
Often physiotherapy can be very helpful and accelerate progress. The treatments include stretching and strengthening the forearm muscles, along with the use of supports to reduce strain on the tendon.
Injection therapy can be useful if the pain is severe and does not respond to other treatment although recent research says this can actually prolong the length of the symptoms and increases the likelihood of recurrence, so is now less frequently used on targeted cases.
If you are unsure of concerned about your elbow pain then contact one of our Physiotherapists who can help diagnose your condition and put together a recovery plan with a specific exercise regime and personalised advice.