Elbow pain is a common complaint that can be caused by a variety of factors. As a physiotherapist, I often see patients who are experiencing pain due to overuse, injury, or underlying medical conditions. In this blog post, I will discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatments options, as well as provide some exercises and guidance on when to seek online physiotherapy.
Symptoms and Causes
Elbow pain can range from a mild ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation. Some common symptoms include:
- Pain when moving the elbow
- Swelling or tenderness around the elbow joint
- Stiffness in the elbow joint
- Weakness in the arm or hand
- Numbness or tingling in the hand or fingers
There are many potential causes. Some common ones include:
- Overuse injuries: Repetitive stress on the elbow joint can lead to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or bursitis. I often see these injuries in people who engage in activities that involve repetitive arm movements, such as tennis or throwing a ball.
- Fractures: Falls, sports injuries, or other types of trauma can cause fractures (or a break in the bone) and lead to pain.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a medical condition that causes inflammation in the joints. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two common types of arthritis that can affect the elbow joint.
- Tendinitis: Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons, which are the strong, fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. Overuse or injury can cause tendinitis of the elbow.
The treatment for will depend on the cause and severity of the pain. Some common treatments include:
- Rest: Resting the elbow and avoiding activities that worsen the pain can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Ice: Applying ice to the elbow can help to reduce swelling and numb the pain.
- Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles around the elbow and improve range of motion.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or stabilize the elbow joint.
Exercises for Elbow Pain
If you are experiencing elbow pain, it’s important to consult with a physiotherapist or healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. That being said, some exercises that may help to ease pain include:
- Wrist flexion and extension: Place your arm on a flat surface with your palm facing down. Slowly bend your wrist up and down, using your other hand to provide resistance.
- Forearm pronation and supination: Hold a light weight in your hand with your arm by your side. Slowly rotate your wrist and hand in a circular motion, using your other hand to provide resistance.
- Elbow flexion and extension: Stand with your arms by your sides and a light weight in each hand. Slowly bend and straighten your elbows, keeping your arms close to your body.
When to Seek Online Physiotherapy
If you are experiencing pain that does not improve after a few days of rest and ice, or if your pain is severe or debilitating, it’s a good idea to seek the guidance of a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist can assess your condition and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
Online physiotherapy can be a convenient and effective way to receive care for elbow pain. Many physiotherapists offer virtual consultations and treatments via video call, which can be done from the comfort of your own home. This can be helpful for those who cannot visit a physiotherapy clinic in person because of mobility issues or other restrictions.
At KBPhysio, you will be able to consult with registered practitioners with over a decade of experience and offering virtual physiotherapy. We focus on not just on excersis to reduce your pain but also focus on education as well as improving body movement patterns, so that you can continue to take part in life and recreational activities that give you the most joy. We offer free consultations over phone and zoom to talk through any questions you may have. Get in touch with us (778) 658-6949 or email us.
- Causes of Pain in Elbow https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/elbow-pain/basics/causes/sym-20050874
- What to Know About Pain Around Elbow https://www.healthline.com/health/elbow-pain
- Tennis Elbow https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis/
- Osteoarthritis of Elbow https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/osteoarthritis-of-the-elbow/
- When It May Mean Arthritis https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/when-elbow-pain-may-mean-arthritis
- Elbow and arm pain https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/elbow-and-arm-pain/