The Elbow

Elbow Pain

Two common elbow complaints are ‘tennis elbow’ (lateral epicondylitis) and ‘golfers elbow’ (medial epicondylitis) They typically result from overuse of the elbow.

Tennis elbow is classified as pain on the outside of the elbow joint, and caused by overuse of the forearm muscles involved in gripping, extending the wrist and extending the elbow (the backhand motion in tennis) Golfers elbow presents as pain on the inside of the elbow, and is caused by overuse of the forearm muscles involved in gripping, flexing the wrist and flexing the elbow (golf swing). Either of these can occur or be exacerbated by prolonged typing and mousing.

The tendon which attaches the muscles to the bone is damaged and can develop micro-tears. There is a poor blood supply to this area so it can take a long time to heal.

Causes can include overuse in sports such as tennis, golf, and other activities including gardening, painting, computer and mouse use and lifting and carrying.

Symptoms can include: 

  • Occasionally swelling around the elbow.
  • Weakness in the wrist.
  • Elbow Pain on the outside or inside of the elbow, possibly radiating down the forearm to the wrist.
  • Elbow Pain with lifting or bending the arm, gripping or activities such as lifting a cup, opening a door or turning a tap.
  • Difficulty straightening the arm.