3 Most Common Causes of Elbow Pain

Your elbow assists in performing a number of functions. These include throwing, lifting, swinging and hugging. Your elbow is not just a joint, meaning that there is a variety of ways things can go the wrong way. If anything happens to the bones of your elbow or the cartilage, ligaments or the tendons, it might lead to severe elbow pain.

There are numerous causes of elbow pain starting from simple injuries to more serious problems. Specialists have created a list of the most common causes of this type of problem. They are as follows: 

Pain as a result of injuries 

  • Fractured elbow: typically occurs when one of your arms gets broken at the elbow. In the majority of cases, this happens because of collisions, falls or car accidents. People who are involved in contact sport are more prone to elbow fractures. 
  • Dislocated elbow occurs when one of the bones that form the elbow gets knocked out of its place. This condition typically occurs when you put your hand out to catch yourself when falling.
  • Sprains and strains: keep in mind that when the muscles get stretched or torn it is called a strain. However, when the ligaments are torn it is called a sprain. A strain can occur when excessive pressure is put on the elbow muscles. It typically happens when you try to lift heavy objects or overuse the elbow during sports activities. Athletes who are heavily involved in throwing are at a higher risk of getting exposed to elbow sprains. 

Wear-and-tear injuries 

This type of injury occurs over time when you put excessive pressure on your elbow. You can harm yourself while playing sports or in a simple routine situation. 

  • Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow: these injuries are not limited to tennis or elbow players only. It occurs if you have damage in the tendons around your elbow. You are more likely to get this type of injury if you overuse your elbow. Tennis players generally affect the outside of their elbow while golf players affect the inside part of the elbow.
  • Bursitis: elbow pain specialists claim that you can get exposed to bursitis as a result of an accident or infection. Bursa are small sacs with fluid in them. When they get swollen it can cause severe elbow pain. Bursitis is mainly treated with the use of pain medication. Generally, you will feel relief within a few weeks. 
  • Stress fractures: this issue appears when you get a small crack in one of your arm bones. Elbow pain doctors say that this is a typical problem for lower legs and feet. However, people who are involved in throwing a lot (baseball pitcher) can get them in the elbow as well. The elbow pain normally increases when throwing a ball. 


  • Arthritis: different types of arthritis can negatively affect your elbow and cause pain. Although, the most common ones are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. During rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system attacks your body’s healthy tissues and leading to swelling in your joints. If you experience osteoarthritis, your elbow cartilage breaks down over time, meaning that the bones rub together leading to elbow pain and stiffness.
  • Lupus: this disease of the immune system attacks healthy parts of your body, which include your joints and organs. Hands and feet are more prone to get affected by this illness but it can also cause elbow pain.
  • Lyme disease: this is a serious issue, which is carried by ticks. As a result of this illness, you might encounter problems with your nervous system pain in your joints, like your elbow. 


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Written by Amelia Grant

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