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Causes of Elbow Pain

Source: Better Health Channel

While overuse injuries such as tennis and golfer’s elbow are common causes of elbow pain, other conditions can include:

Radiohumeral bursitis – bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. Bursae are small sacs that contain fluid to lubricate moving parts such as joints, muscles and tendons. Bursitis may be caused by repetitive use or frequent pressure or by injury to the elbow.


Osteoarthritis – the joint cartilage becomes brittle and splits. Some pieces of cartilage may even break away and float around inside the synovial fluid (a liquid found in the joints). This can lead to inflammation.


Referred pain – injuries to the bones of the spine (vertebrae) can irritate the nerves servicing the arm and cause referred pain around the elbow joint.

Nerve entrapment – the radial nerve is the main nerve of the arm. If this nerve can’t move freely, it can cause pain when the arm is stretched out. The radial nerve can be pinched by vertebrae or the elbow joint. There is evidence to suggest that nerve entrapment contributes to the pain of tennis elbow in some cases.

nerve entrapment

Ligament sprain – joints are held together and supported by tough bands of connective tissue called ligaments. A sprain is a type of joint injury characterised by tearing of the ligaments.

Osteochondritis dissecans – in younger people, a piece of cartilage and bone can become loose in the joint.


Bone fracture – a heavy fall or blow to the elbow may cause one of the bones to break or crack.
Avulsion fracture – a powerful muscle contraction can wrench the tendon free and pull out pieces of bone.


2 comments on “Causes of Elbow Pain

  1. Ozie Veno
    January 8, 2013

    bursitis can be painful you are not able to treat it on time. ; ^

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  2. Roseann Naasz
    February 11, 2013

    There are fluid filled sacs located throughout the body in areas of friction. These friction areas are generally between bone or tendon and skin. The fluid filled sacs are called bursae together and one is called a bursa. Approximately 160 bursae are located throughout the body and they secrete a fluid that provides lubrication to these body parts. When one of these bursae is injured either through consistent activity or from a direct trauma then bursitis results. There are two types of bursitis which may be a result of an infection of the synovial fluid or from too much movement. This is obviously painful and bursitis sufferers are always in search of pain relief..

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