Top 4 Common Elbow Injuries (and How to Heal Them)

Elbow injuries are always painful. This is because most injuries involve the pinching, or compressing, of the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve runs from your neck to your hand, but most often the source of pain comes from the nerve being compressed just inside the elbow.

So-called tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow is only one type of injury though. Let’s look at four of the most common types of elbow injuries and what you can do to relieve the pain and heal the injury.

1. Tendonitis

Tennis elbow — lateral epicondylitis — produces a burning pain at the side of the elbow that can be quite severe. You experience pain because the tendon that attaches muscle to the bone on the outside of the elbow, or epicondyle, becomes inflamed.

While sportspeople often suffer from tennis elbow, lifting objects when extending your wrist can also cause the problem.

People such as plumbers, weavers, and butchers get tennis elbow. Any activity involving frequent use of the muscle in your forearm can cause it.

Initial treatments for pain relief include applying an ice pack to the elbow and taking an anti-inflammatory (like ibuprofen).

If the pain persists, braces or wrist splints can help, along with physical therapy and motion exercises. Types of elbow braces vary depending on the precise nature of the injury. What braces do is apply pressure to the forearm muscles to relieve pressure from the injured tendon.

Once you have been a tennis elbow sufferer, using a brace when engaging in activity that places strain on the area can help to avoid reinjury.

2. Repetitive Motion Disorders

These types of injuries are also called repetitive strain injuries, or RSIs. Typing for long hours, day after day can cause this. Again, braces are useful, but corrective posture is the best cure.

Repetitive motion disorders don’t only happen to the elbow, wrist, shoulder or neck area.  They can occur in any part of the body where muscles, joints, and tendons meet.

3. Fractures

This is a much more serious injury and might require surgery. 

Rehabilitation by means of physical therapy and the use of braces is recommended once the plaster cast has been removed.

4. Sprains

Sprains need rest, and an anti-inflammatory to bring the inflammation down.

Cold packs are good. Trying to use the elbow too soon after the sprain will only prolong the injury and the pain. 

If you suffer a sprain or any other elbow injury we would always recommend seeking medical help.

Recovering From Elbow Injuries

It is always best to follow the advice of your doctor or physical therapists. Many minor elbow injuries can be dealt with if you seek treatment early.

Don’t be silly and think the pain will go away on its own. You need treatment so that you can continue to use your arms and elbows in a healthy and useful way for the rest of your life.

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