Maintaining elbow health is essential for proper function of our upper limbs. Injuries to the elbow, which commonly occur during sport or with overuse, can affect all aspects of daily life. Symptoms include pain or tenderness over the elbow joint or when moving the fist or fingers, stiffness, swelling or inflammation, weakness or loss of grip strength.
Some elbow conditions include:
- Tennis elbow: Also known as lateral epicondylitis, causes pain and inflammation on the outside of the elbow. It’s typically caused by repetitive overuse of the forearm muscle and tendons, which can lead to small tears in the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle (a bony bump on the outside of the elbow).
- Golfer’s elbow: Also known as medial epicondylitis, causes pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow. It’s similar to tennis elbow but affects the tendons that to the medial epicondyle (bony bump on the inside of the elbow).
- Bursitis: Inflammation of the small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints that can cause pain and swelling.
- Fractures: Can occur with a trauma incident or heavy blow to the elbow.
- Osteoarthritis: a common condition that causes inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the joints.
- Nerve compression or entrapment: The main nerve that supplies the arm, the radial nerve, can be stretched or compressed either in the elbow or lumbar spine and be a cause of elbow pain.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy involves assessing all the potential contributing factors for your shoulder pain and can include;
- Strategies and treatment to reduce pain and inflammation
- Muscle retraining
- Strengthening exercise program
- Activity modifications
- Education and advice