These Three Therapy Methods Can Help Reduce Elbow Pain When Extending Your Arm
A physical therapist can help you find treatment options for tennis elbow. In particular, they can focus on decreasing the elbow pain you experience when extending your arm. Some of the techniques that can help you meet this goal are:
Back In Motion Can Help Treat Your Work
Do you have an elbow that hurts when you extend it at work? You can find help for your painful elbow at Back in Motion Physical Therapy. Our physical therapists offer free screenings that can uncover the precise cause of your pain. They also excel at building treatment plans that are unique to each patient, which means your plan is more likely to help:
When To See A Healthcare Provider
If your elbow pain is severe or does not go away, it’s important to see a healthcare provider. Other signs that you need medical care include:
- Inability to carry things or use your arm
- An injury that changes the shape of the joint
- Elbow pain at night or at rest
- Inability to straighten or bend the arm
- Swelling or bruising around the elbow
- Signs of infection, including fever, redness, and warmth
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When To Call Your Doctor
If you think youâve fractured or dislocated your elbow — it hurts and doesnât look right — go to the emergency room.
- Elbow pain that doesnât go away with rest and ice, or pain that doesnât go away even when youâre 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
- Problems using your elbow, such as difficulty bending your arm
Overuse Elbow Injury Related To Throwing Motion
Overhand throwing places extremely high stresses on the elbow. In baseball pitchers and other throwing athletes, these high stresses are repeated many times and can lead to serious overuse injury.
You can safely treat this condition on your own by resting the elbow. The usual RICE stuff applies . Physical therapy and ibuprofen also work. If things don’t improve, a doctor’s visit would be in order.
Top Symptoms: pain in one shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse, pain in one elbow, elbow pain from overuse, pain in the pinky side of the elbow
Symptoms that always occur with overuse elbow injury related to throwing motion: pain in one elbow, elbow pain from overuse
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Dislocation Or Fracture Of The Elbow
An injury to the elbow, such as a fall on an outstretched arm or elbow, can cause dislocation or a fracture. Dislocation occurs when a bone moves from its usual position. A fracture occurs when a bone cracks or breaks.
A healthcare provider can move the dislocated bone back into place. Theyll place the dislocated or fractured elbow in a splint or cast, and give you medication for pain and swelling. Physical therapy helps restore the range of motion after the splint or cast is removed.
Tennis Elbow And Golfers Elbow
Tennis elbow and golfers elbow are two separate but similar conditions in which tendons become painful. Anybody can develop them, but theyre most common between the ages of 40 and 50. Tennis elbow is the more common of the two conditions.
Despite their names, playing tennis or golf arent the most common causes. Theyre overuse injuries linked with activities involving repetitive actions of the wrist and hand.
People who are continually gripping and twisting for example carpenters and plasterers, or people who use a computer mouse may be at risk. Repetitive actions combined with weight, for example lifting heavy boxes, can also cause these problems.
Tennis elbow affects tendons on the outside of the elbow. Golfers elbow affects tendons on the inside of the elbow.
The main symptoms are pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow for tennis elbow, and on the inside for golfers elbow. People may also have pain when gripping.
The level of pain can vary from person to person, ranging from a mild discomfort to a severe ache that prevents you from sleeping.
Often all thats needed is to stop or change any activities causing the problem or making it worse, alongside some self-care steps you can do at home.
Both conditions can last between six months and two years. Most people get better within a year. Unfortunately, they can both return.
Surgery for tennis and golfers elbow
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Possible Reasons You Have Elbow Pain When Straightening Your Arm
- Tennis elbow Tennis elbow is the inflammation of the tendon that attaches your elbow bone to the muscles that control your wrist and fingers. Overuse or overexertion of the elbow in physical activities, such as swinging a tennis racket, can irritate this tendon, causing it to become inflamed. The result is a burning sensation and sensitivity when trying to straighten or bend your elbow.
- Bursitis Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae, which are tiny sacs of fluid found in your joints. The bursae are supposed to prevent the tendons from rubbing against your bones and muscles, but overuse and overexertion of your elbow can cause the bursae to become inflamed. This causes swelling and tenderness that can limit your ability to bend or straighten your elbow.
- Biceps tendinitis Biceps tendinitis is the inflammation of your biceps tendon, which connects your biceps muscle to the inside of your elbow joint. Overexerting your elbow by lifting heavy objects can cause irritation to this tendon, which can be felt when trying to straighten or bend your elbow. Its also possible for this tendon to completely rupture, which will cause intense pain and can be identified by swelling and bruising where the biceps connects with the elbow.
What Does It Mean When My Elbow Pops
In many cases, your elbow pops are harmless and due to cavitation.
You have fluid-filled sacs in your joints. When you change positions suddenly, it changes the pressure and volume, releasing gas bubbles.
Medical professionals dont know if its the formation or collapse of those bubbles that cause cracking or popping sounds.
However, if you have elbow pain, as well as popping, it could be a sign of a more serious issue that might need medical attention.
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Changing How You Move
The first thing to do if you have elbow pain is to change, or possibly stop, any movements that might be causing your symptoms or making them worse. Flare-ups of some conditions, where the symptoms become suddenly worse, can be eased by avoiding bending the elbow into certain positions.
If you do any tasks for work that involve repetitive movements such as using a screwdriver or painting, its worth discussing this with an occupational therapist. These are healthcare professionals who can suggest how to change your movements and ways to support your elbow while its healing.
A GP can refer you to an occupational therapist, or you can see one privately.
If your workplace has an occupational health department, they should be able to help.
When To See A Doctor About Elbow Tendonitis
While it is very valuable to know how to treat elbow tendonitis as most cases can successfully be treated at home, improper treatment or no treatment usually results in tendonitis lasting six months to 2 years before resolving. During this time, pain and disability occur daily. If a patient employs the various treatment strategies for 6 to 12 months without significant improvement, surgery may be recommended.While rarely necessary, when surgery is needed, it is usually done arthroscopically or with an open incision made over the outer elbow. The abnormal and inflamed tissue is removed, and after a brief recovery period, most surgical patients do extremely well. Patients still need to understand how to treat elbow tendonitis because part of the healing process will involve the same exercises as patients who have not had surgery. Ultimately, only about 10% or fewer patients will require some sort of surgical treatment.
It is necessary to see an orthopedic specialist if you know how to treat elbow tendonitis and have been treating it with no improvement after a few weeks or months. While it is often gradual, some improvement should be obvious within the first few weeks. Also, when you have questions about diagnosis, treatment options, or exercises for your elbow, finding the best orthopedic specialists is easy.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is usually the result of overuse. Symptoms tend to come on slowly. Pain may get worse over weeks and months. Signs of tennis elbow include:
- Burning or pain on your outer elbow that may travel to your wrist .
- Pain when twisting or bending your arm .
- Stiffness or pain when extending your arm.
- Swollen elbow joint thats tender to touch.
- Weakened grip when you try to hold items like a racquet, wrench, pen or someones hand.
How Is Elbow Hyperextension Diagnosed
If you suspect you have hyperextended your elbow, make an appointment with your doctor. To diagnose elbow hyperextension, your doctor will start by taking your medical history and carefully examining your arm. They may also order an X-ray to rule out any fractures or an MRI or CT scan to check for soft tissue damage. Your doctor can use the images produced by an MRI or CT scan to determine where your elbow is injured and how badly your muscles, tendons, or other soft tissues are damaged.
If your elbow is visibly deformed or you have fragments of bone protruding through your skin, go to the emergency department for treatment.
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Why Am I Having Sharp Elbow Pain Along With Neck And Shoulder Pain
If your sharp elbow pain is accompanied by pain in the neck and shoulder, compression of a nerve in the neck is most likely the cause. Nerves may be compressed as they exit the spinal cord due to bony changes such as arthritis or a herniated disc. Neck movement typically exacerbates the pain, and other symptoms like elbow or shoulder weakness may also be present.
Get Effective Treatment For Elbow Pain When Extending Your Arm At Rehab Access Pt
Not sure where to turn for help with the elbow pain you feel when extending your arm? Look no further than our team at Rehab Access Physical Therapy. Our specialists can evaluate your painful elbow to determine exactly whats causing your pain. We can then create a personalized therapy plan for you thats designed to reduce your pain. You can even use our virtual therapy service to work with our physical therapists without leaving home.
Contact our team today for more information about the therapy options we offer for elbow pain or to schedule an initial appointment.
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Quick Fixes For Aching Elbows
Rest, heat, stretching, and bracing are effective ways to find relief right now.
The elbow is a funny joint. It is home to your funny boneyour ulnar nervewhich hurts if it’s hit a certain way. And the elbow is often overlooked as an important joint to help us maintain our independence. Many older adults may not think much about the elbow, because it’s not a weight-bearing joint and because it doesn’t often develop arthritis or require joint replacement in the older adult population. But elbow pain can keep you from getting dressed, cooking dinner, and anything else that requires the use of your arm. Taking care of this joint helps ensure that you can care for yourself.
Who’s Affected By Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is a common condition that affects about 1-3% of the population every year.
It’s the most common cause of persistent elbow pain, accounting for two-thirds of cases. It affects women and men equally, and those affected are mostly between the ages of 35-54.
Page last reviewed: 10 November 2020 Next review due: 10 November 2023
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Why Do I Feel Pain When Extending My Elbow
Pain when extending your elbow can come while youre doing common daily activities. Some people might feel it when reaching out for a doorknob, and others may experience elbow pain when setting their coffee cup down.
There are many issues that can trigger the elbow pain that youre experiencing. Fortunately, a physical therapist can help you pinpoint the cause of pain when youre extending your elbow, and they can help you find effective treatment for your elbow pain, too.
Whats The Difference Between Tennis Elbow And Golfers Elbow
Tennis elbow is a condition of the lateral epicondyle tendon, or outer part of the elbow. Golfers elbow is a condition of the medial epicondyle tendon, or inner part of the elbow. The medical term for golfers elbow is medial epicondylitis.
People with golfers elbow have inner elbow pain that radiates down the arm. They can also have finger numbness and tingling. Golfers can get tennis elbow, just as tennis players may get golfers elbow.
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Why Do I Get Sharp Elbow Pain When I Exercise
Sharp elbow pain during exercise is likely due to an overuse injury. Repetitive motions of the wrist and forearm can cause accumulated damage to tendons that attach to the end of the humerus . The tendons attach to parts of the bone called epicondyles, resulting in an injury called epicondylitis. Depending on the exact tendons affected, the pain may be located on the inner side of the elbow or the outer side of the elbow . Sports activities such as golf and tennis can cause or exacerbate pain.
What Are The Treatments For Tennis Elbow
There are things you can do at home to help relieve pain and swelling.
- Rest your arm by avoiding the movement that caused the condition.
- Take an over-the-counter medicine that reduces swelling, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin.
- Apply an ice pack to your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 times a day.
- Wrap your elbow in a compression bandage.
- Do gentle stretching exercises several times a day.
- Try changing your sports equipment or technique.
- Try changing your work habitat and habits, or job.
Talk to your doctor if these treatments do not help. They may suggest:
- Using a splint or brace to keep your elbow still for 2 to 3 weeks.
- Getting a steroid injection to reduce swelling and pain.
- Getting a pulsed ultrasound to break up scar tissue, promote healing, and increase blood flow.
Once your pain and swelling have decreased, physical therapy can help reinforce your muscles and tendons. This includes stretching, range-of-motion, and strengthening exercises. Most people improve in 4 to 6 weeks.
If your pain does not improve or if it affects your lifestyle, your doctor may suggest surgery. Usually, surgery occurs in an outpatient center. This means you dont have to stay in the hospital. During surgery, the doctor will make a small cut on the outside of your elbow. They will remove the damaged tendon tissue and reattach normal tendon tissue to the bone.
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When To Contact A Doctor
There are some treatments that a person can try at home when experiencing elbow pain.
If pain, swelling, or immobility continues, however, it is important that a person consults a doctor. If the elbow area is deformed, it is also important that the person consults a doctor.
It is vital for a person to talk with a doctor if pain persists. Identifying the problem quickly may reduce the chance of complications.
The elbow is a complicated part of the body formed between three bones:
A combination of cartilage, tendons, and ligaments surrounds these bones. Cartilage covers the bones to ease stress from compression and allow for fluid joint movement. Tendons connect the bones to surrounding muscles. Ligaments connect bones to other bones.
Key Points About Lateral Epicondylitis
Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, is swelling or tearing of the tendons that bend your wrist backward away from your palm.
Its caused by repetitive motion of the forearm muscles, which attach to the outside of your elbow. The muscles and tendons become sore from excessive strain.
Symptoms include pain, burning, or an ache along the outside of the forearm and elbow. It gets worse and may spread down to the wrist if the person continues the activity that causes the condition. The grip may become weak.
Lateral epicondylitis is diagnosed by an exam of the elbow joint. The healthcare provider may need an X-ray or MRI to see whats causing the problem. An EMG may be done to look for nerve problems.
Lateral epicondylitis can be treated with rest and medicines to help with the inflammation. Exercises often help too. Rarely, surgery may be done to repair the tendon.
You can help prevent lateral epicondylitis by doing things like warming up before exercise or sports, increasing activity slowly, using the right equipment for activities, and strengthening your arm muscles.
Follow your healthcare providers recommendations to get rest and manage pain and swelling. Let your healthcare provider know if these strategies dont help reduce pain, swelling, and loss of function.
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