Experiencing Elbow Pain?

Elbow pain

Your elbow joint is formed by three bones, your upper arm bone called the humerus, and the  forearm bones called the ulna and the radius. Each bone has cartilage on the end, which help the bones slide against each other and absorb shock. The bones are held into place by tough tissues called ligaments. Tendons connect your bones to the muscles to allow you to move your arm in different ways.

If damage occurs to any of these parts, or to the nerves and blood vessels around them, it can cause pain. Elbow injuries often result in wrist and forearm pain as well, and can make it difficult to grasp items or use your hands to perform activities such as typing, writing, cooking and simply holding a cup of coffee!

Common Causes of Elbow Pain

  • Sudden Injuries – Acute
  • Repetitive Stress Injuries
  • Arthritis

Sudden Injuries – Acute

Common injuries which occur as a result of a one time incident.

  • Strains and sprains: When muscles get stretched or torn, it’s called a strain. When ligaments get stretched or torn, it’s called a sprain. You can get a strain when you put too much pressure on your elbow muscles, such as when lifting heavy objects or “overdo it” with sports. Elbow sprains are common in athletes who throw, use racquets, or play contact sports. Both are treated with rest, ice and once the pain is gone stretching and strength exercises.
  • Dislocated elbow. When one of the bones that forms the elbow gets knocked out of place such as if you put your hand out to catch yourself during a fall.
  • Fractured elbow: If one of your arm bones breaks at the elbow, you have a fracture. Usually, this happens with a sudden blow, as you might get in a contact sport or a car accident.

If you think you’ve fractured or dislocated your elbow go to the emergency room!

Wear & Tear Injuries

Injuries which occur over time from repeating certain actions/activities and cause wear and tear on your elbow. These injuries can occur from playing sports, crocheting & knitting, or by performing any number of work duties, from factory to office work!

  • Bursitis: Often caused by repeating the same motion over and over, you can also get bursitis from an accident. Bursa are small sacs with fluid in them that can get swollen and cause pain. You have them in your joints to help cushion your bones, tendons, and muscles. Typically, bursitis is treated with anti-inflammatory medication and starts to get better within a few weeks.
  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis): These are both types of tendinitis, which means you have damage in the tendons around your elbow from overuse. You don’t have to play golf or tennis to have this injury. The main difference between the two is that tennis elbow affects the outside of your elbow, while golfer’s elbow affects the inside. These are two of the most common elbow injuries we see in the clinic, and have included a couple of stretches below!
  • Nerve Entrapments: Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve gets squeezed as it runs along the inside of your elbow and passes through tissue called the cubital tunnel. You may have burning or numbness in your hand, arm, and fingers. If you have radial tunnel syndrome, you have a similar issue with the radial nerve as it passes through the radial tunnel near the outside of your elbow. You may have burning or numbness on the outside forearm and elbow. Pronator teres syndrome is also very common in musicians, and is causes by pronator teres muscle tightness, squeezing the nerves in the forearm.


Many types of arthritis can affect your elbow, but the main ones are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the elbow. When you have it, your immune system attacks your body’s healthy tissue and causes swelling in your joints.
  • Osteoarthritis occurs when your elbow cartilage breaks down over time, which means the bones rub together and cause pain and stiffness.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Elbow pain that doesn’t go away with rest and ice, or pain that doesn’t go away even when you’re not using your arm
  • Intense pain, swelling, and bruising around your elbow
  • Pain, swelling, or redness that gets worse, especially if you have a fever too

Take Action Now!

If you have been experiencing acute or chronic elbow, forearm or wrist pain call to schedule an appointment with physical therapy today!

Physical Therapy Intervention for Elbow Pain has many benefits such as;

  • Decrease pain
  • Restore function
  • Increase strength
  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve joint stability
  • Prevent re-injury
  • Optimize performance
Our skilled therapists can help you return to the activities and the lifestyle that you enjoy!

Skilled Physical Therapy intervention is a highly effective non-surgical treatment option for many causes of elbow, forearm and wrist pain. A skilled therapist will perform a comprehensive evaluation to assess all factors contributing to your condition and educate you on the proper stretching and strengthening exercises. Contact Balance Solutions or call to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist today! Balance Solutions Physical Therapy is here to help, offering advanced manual therapy and physical therapy for elbow & arm pain, “Changing the Quality of Life, One Patient at a Time” TM

Balance Solutions Physical Therapy is located at Commerce Park in Beachwood Ohio, just on the outskirts of Cleveland.  Services offered include physical therapy, orthopedic & sports rehab, vestibular rehab,  massage therapy, myofascial release, Reiki, Integrative Dry Needling, as well as Pilates mat and reformer private and class lessons.

Stretching For Elbow Tendinitis

Elbow Tendinitis is common and typically caused by tight muscles in the forearm. Muscles in the forearm control your wrist and finger movements and can become tight with repetitive activities such as typing, cutting, crochet, hammering, shoveling, and sports to name just a few activities. Gently stretching the muscles helps to alleviate tension and takes pressure off of the elbow joint and nerves, it is a good way to start alleviating pain!

Golfers Elbow Stretch (Shown for Right)
    1. Keeping elbow straight, lift arm out in front of you.
    2. Gently extend your wrist and fingers back until a GENTLE stretch is felt.
    3. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times, spending 5 minutes or more stretching.


Tennis Elbow Stretch (Shown for Left)

  1. Gently flex your wrist and fingers forward until a GENTLE stretch is felt.
  2. Keeping elbow straight, lift arm out in front of you.
  3. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times, spending 5 minutes or more stretching.