“She was a woman who, between courses, could be graceful with her elbows on the table.” – Henry James
Painful movement in one or both elbows can limit our activities and make everything we do excruciating. And, aside from an injury to an elbow, knowing why it hurts can be elusive.
Elbow tendonitis is one of the most common causes for many types of elbow pain.
According to one orthopedic clinic’s website, the main symptom of elbow tendonitis is pain (sometimes a burning pain) and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. Stiffness and pain in the elbow in the morning or at night are also common and are worse when trying to use the hand or arm.
There are three main major tendons that attach near the elbow. These elbow tendons include the:
- Common extensor tendon.
- Common flexor tendon.
- Biceps tendon.
As one source points out, however,
“Tendinitis of the elbow is typically associated with the first two. Tendonitis of the common extensor tendon is known as Tennis Elbow. Tendinitis of the common flexor tendon is known as Golfer’s Elbow. Tendons are bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones.”
Elbow Tendinitis Affects More than Golfers and Tennis Players
Most of us, even if we are not sports fans, have heard of “tennis elbow” and even “golfer’s elbow” but might know what they are exactly.
Tennis elbow, or epicondylitis, is swelling of the elbow’s extensor tendon. Pain is usually felt under the bony knob that sits on the outside of the elbow. Those who suffer from this condition feel sensations running through the upper arm and often the pain can be felt in the shoulder.
Because tennis elbow happens in a part of the arm that affects many other muscles, it sometimes seems like the pain is coming from other areas. Therefore, it’s important to get medical attention to pinpoint the real source of your symptoms of tennis elbow.
Medial epicondylitis, or golfer’s elbow, on the other hand, causes pain in the same area as tennis elbow. However, the pain is the result of the strain on different muscles that is responsible for golfer’s elbow. Those afflicted will feel the pain on the inside of the elbow, while some may even feel it in the forearm and wrist.
Because the pain from elbow tendinitis often occurs in parts of the arm that affects many other muscles, it sometimes seems as if the cause of the pain is coming from other areas. This is why it’s important to get medical attention to locate the real source of your symptoms of elbow tendonitis.
And golf or tennis are not always to blame!
Elbow Tendinitis Causes and Risk Factors
It would be a bit easier if only those who participated regularly in a sport with repetitive motions, such as golf or tennis, were the only ones who suffered from forms of elbow tendinitis. But that’s not the case, as it turns out.
As one blog article explains,
“You don’t have to play tennis to get tennis elbow. Any activity that uses the thumb and forefinger can cause this disease. Typing, painting, and knitting are some ways to develop tennis elbow. Therefore, it’s important to look at your daily habits when deciding how to treat your elbow pain.”
Those at risk for developing “tennis elbow” include people whose jobs involve repetitive motions of the wrist and arm such as plumbers, painters, carpenters, butchers, and cooks. In addition, muscle imbalance and a lack of flexibility are contributing factors as is age.
People aged 30 and older have an increased risk of developing tennis elbow and this risk accelerates substantially after age 40.
The Mayo Clinic website notes that golfer’s elbow,
“… is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that control your wrist and fingers. The damage is typically related to excess or repeated stress — especially forceful wrist and finger motions. Improper lifting, throwing or hitting, as well as too little warmup or poor conditioning, also can contribute to golfer’s elbow.”
In addition, medical professionals caution that those at higher risk of developing golfer’s elbow are typically:
- Age 40 or older
- A smoker
- Performing repetitive activity at least two hours a day
The good news is that there is hope for relief from the pain in your elbows and the promise of restoring joint health to those areas.
One approach we use is to break up scar tissue surrounding the elbow. This in turn helps to improve strength by reducing inflammation, which then increases flexibility. Tennis elbow can respond effectively to this type of therapy.
In addition, we also treat golfer’s elbow by breaking up adhesions and fibrosis around the common flexor tendon where it inserts to the elbow.
Finding Relief from That Pain in Your Elbow with Pain and Performance Solutions
Your first step is to make an initial appointment with Pain and Performance Solutions. By doing so, you are taking a step towards gaining relief from crippling pain and discomfort.
The first thing we do is to sit down with you and learn about your present discomfort as well as your history of pain. Then, after completing a full examination, we are able to determine the best form of treatment and start you along your road to recovery.
The source of elbow pain, like many other types of pain, can be challenging to locate and identify. That is because when pain occurs, our bodies will often try to compensate for that pain to allow us to get through the day with less pain.
However, because our bodies alter our normal movement patterns to compensate for our discomfort, this now dysfunctional movement pattern often leads to other areas of pain.
The good news is that it’s possible for us to accurately locate and identify the real source of your pain and then apply the best therapies for bringing relief.
Attaining chronic pain relief with therapies such as Active Release Techniques® and Anatomy in Motion (AiM), for example, happens once we understand where your pain started. Often this can mean it started previously with another injury you might have sustained.
When it comes to finding pain relief with Pain and Performance Solutions, your trust in us and your transparency are key. Getting your body to work properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any, and all questions that you may have.