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Types of elbow pain

Find out about the different kinds of elbow pain, and how they can be treated by experts at our hospitals.

The causes of sharp elbow pain

There are a few reasons you feel a sharp pain in your elbow.

You could have broken your elbow. There are countless ways to break your elbow, from playing sports to having an accident or a fall.

It is also possible that you have an injury such as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. 

Treatment of sharp elbow pain

If you have broken your elbow, you will probably need to wear a sling, a cast or a splint. This helps to protect your elbow and stops you moving it around too much. This will enable it to heal quickly and effectively.

If your bones are out of place, unstable or there are bone fragments in your elbow, then it’s likely you will need surgery to remove them.

Physiotherapy can help your elbow to get back to normal after a fracture. Starting off gently, these exercises will help to build strength and restore motion to your arm.

The cause of inside elbow pain

Inner elbow pain is often caused by golfer’s elbow. It is a common ailment that occurs when the tendons attaching the inside forearm to the upper arm become inflamed.

Golfer’s elbow can be caused by several activities including manual work, sports and household activities.

Treatment of inner elbow pain

There are a few different ways golfer’s elbow can be treated.

Paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen often reduces pain, helping to improve your mobility. Hot and cold therapy can also help to provide relief, and you may need to wear a brace or compression strap.

Physiotherapy exercises will help to build strength and restore motion to your arm. If you have tried other treatments across several months and are still in significant pain, your Consultant might recommend surgery. During the operation, your surgeon will remove any damaged tendons.

The causes of elbow pain when lifting

Elbow pain when lifting is often caused by either tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. Tennis elbow is characterised by a pain on the outside of the elbow. The medical name for this tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis.

Although common amongst tennis players due to the strain of using a racket, tennis elbow it can affect anyone. It usually develops as a result of doing a repetitive motion that involves bending and straightening your elbow.

Golfer’s elbow can cause the inside of your elbow to feel sore and tender, meaning using your arm is uncomfortable or painful. It occurs when the tendons attaching the inside forearm to the upper arm become inflamed. You don’t have to be a golfer to have golfer’s elbow – there are several causes for it.

Treatment for elbow pain when lifting

There are several ways to treat elbow pain when lifting, depending on how severe and long-lasting your symptoms are.

Painkillers might help manage your pain. Paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen often reduces pain, helping to improve your mobility.

A heating pad will help relax your joints, improving your mobility and reducing pain. Alternatively, placing a cold compress on your elbow throughout the day could numb your elbow, reducing pain and providing relief.

Your doctor might suggest steroid injections to reduce inflammation. The relief offered by steroid injections is temporary, so you will likely have to have them every few months. if you are continuing to use your affected arm, you may need to wear a brace to ease stress on the affected elbow.

Our physiotherapists can work with you to create a programme of exercises that will help your elbow to get back to normal. Starting off gently, these exercises will help to build strength and restore motion to your arm.

For more severe cases, extracorporeal shockwave therapy is a treatment that passes shockwaves through the skin to the injured part of the body and provide relief.

If you have tried other treatments across several months and are still in significant pain, your Consultant might recommend elbow surgery. 

The causes of outer elbow pain

Pain on the outside of the elbow can be due to tennis elbow. The medical name for this tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis.

Although common amongst tennis players due to the strain of using a racket, tennis elbow it can affect anyone. It usually develops as a result of doing a repetitive motion that involves bending and straightening your elbow.

Treatment for outer elbow pain

There are several ways to treat elbow pain when lifting, depending on how severe and long-lasting your symptoms are.

Painkillers might help manage your pain. Paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen often reduces pain, helping to improve your mobility.

A heating pad will help relax your joints, improving your mobility and reducing pain. Alternatively, placing a cold compress on your elbow throughout the day could numb your elbow, reducing pain and providing relief.

Your doctor might suggest steroid injections to reduce inflammation. The relief offered by steroid injections is temporary, so you will likely have to have them every few months. If you are continuing to use your affected arm, you may need to wear a brace to ease stress on the affected elbow.

Our physiotherapists can work with you to create a programme of exercises that will help your elbow to get back to normal. Starting off gently, these exercises will help to build strength and restore motion to your arm.

For more severe cases, extracorporeal shockwave therapy is a treatment that passes shockwaves through the skin to the injured part of the body and provide relief.

If you have tried other treatments across several months and are still in significant pain, your Consultant might recommend elbow surgery. 

Elbow pain can be frustrating and painful, but it’s important to know that good help is available. You are not alone.

Receiving care from an experienced Consultant at one of our local hospitals can help you to recover as quickly as possible. They will assess and diagnose your fracture and then discuss the treatment recommended for your specific situation.

To schedule your visit, book a specialist appointment online today.  

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