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I bet you never thought that so many injuries can happen and affect just one specific part of your body.
Am I right?
I have to admit I was shocked as well when I first set out to do research on this topic.
But as it turns out, there are at 12 elbow injuries that you should learn as much as you can about …
Otherwise your treatment strategy is bound to fail and you’ll just continue suffering with elbow pain and your everyday life will be a living hell!
The first thing you should know is that there are 2 categories or groups of injuries to the elbow:
Acute and Overuse.
- 1. Dislocated elbow
- 2. Broken elbow
- 3. Elbow sprain
- 4. Torn bicep tendon
- 5. Torn tricep
- 6. Deep elbow bruising
- 7. Elbow infection
- 8. Elbow strain
- 9. Elbow tendonitis
- 10. Golfers elbow
- 11. Ulnar nerve entrapment
- 12. Tennis elbow
What distinguishes the two is that an acute injury is one where your elbow takes a direct hit, you strike it on a hard surface or your elbow gets jammed or turned/twisted abnormally.
An overuse injury is exactly what it says.
Using your elbow to perform the same action/movement over and over again for an extended period of time.
Makes sense right?
Ok now let’s get a little more specific so you can nail down which one of the 15 injuries to your elbow that is preventing you from doing the things you love to do or …
Simply making everyday tasks and chores that we take for granted a complete nightmare.
1) Dislocated elbow
Occurs when your two forearm bones(ulna and radius) shift or become displaced from your upper arm bone(humerus).
Your elbow joint is formed by these three bones and when either one of them shift suddenly out of place, you suffer a dislocated elbow.
2) Broken elbow/arm
As you’ve just learned, there are three bones that come together to form your elbow joint.
A sudden fall or quick strike to any one of these three bones can cause them to break or fracture.
If you have broken one of these bones, you should almost immediately notice some swelling and even bruising.
You won’t be able to use your arm as you normally would.
The only way to verify whether or not one or more of the bones are fractured is to have your arm x-rayed.
If you’ve taken a fall or direct blow to your arm in the past 24 hours and your arm shows signs of swelling and you can’t move it correctly
Please goto your Doctor or emergency room hospital right away because
Broken bones and fractures usually need to be immobilized with a cast in order to heal properly.
Also check out this great resource on injuries and disorders of the elbow.
3) Elbow sprain
When you suffer a sprain to your elbow, one or more of the ligaments becomes torn or stretched.
This usually occurs when you brace yourself after falling onto your outstretched arm causing a tear to one of your elbow ligaments.
You may experience pain in your elbow when trying to extend or straighten it.
4) Torn bicep tendon
Occurs when your bicep tendon tears where your bicep attaches to your elbow or at the other attachment point, at your shoulder.
Your bicep muscle is responsible for bringing your arm in towards your body.
The majority of bicep tears, 90 percent, happen at the shoulder.
That leaves only 10 percent of bicep tears happen where your bicep attaches at your elbow.
So chances are that your elbow pain is not a result of a bicep tear.
If you still think you may have a tear in your bicep, check out this article from the Cleveland Clinic on bicep tendon injuries.
5) Torn tricep
Your tricep muscle sits at the back of your arm and is responsible for helping you extend and straighten your arm.
When you suffer a tear of your tricep you experience tenderness and pain at the back of your arm.
It is not uncommon to hear a cracking or popping sound when you touch the back of your arm.
You will not be able to straighten your arm fully without severe pain.
This type of elbow injury is more commonly found in weight lifters and bodybuilders.
You can read more about torn triceps tendons and ruptures over here.
6) Elbow bruising
Bruising of your elbow usually happens when you stumble and fall onto a hard surface.
The result is bruising and sometimes inflammation/swelling.
Your elbow may be tender to the touch for 48 hours but then it should subside and the bruise should start to change colour and begin the healing process.
7) Elbow infection
This one can be a little tricky.
Infections for the most part show signs early on such as swelling and inflammation.
Combine that with the symptom of being red in colour and hot to the touch.
This is more inline with a condition referred to as elbow bursitis.
What exactly happens is that the bursa sac which sits at the back of your elbow ruptures as a result of direct blow or infection.
This sac is filled with an oily, white liquid which is responsible for providing lubrication to your skin so it can move freely over your arm bones.
The most common signs of elbow bursitis is swelling of your elbow, it’s red in colour and feels hot as if someone is holding a flame to your elbow.
If your bursa sac becomes infected, your Doctor may opt to drain it with a needle.
Otherwise, as far as treatment goes, antibiotics may be prescribed by your Doctor to help fight the infection.
So those are 7 elbow injuries that are considered acute.
Next let’s move onto injuries which are caused due to overuse and repetitive actions.
8) Elbow strain
This is when you overuse the muscles and tendons which connect at your elbow.
Perhaps you have pain in the muscles around your elbow.
If so, be sure to read this post and follow the advice given.
When Doctors describe a strain, they give it a grade.
A Grade I elbow strain is when there is no physical tearing of the muscles or tendons but simply irritation and/or inflammation of the tissues.
These usually resolve themselves within a few days if you avoid and stay away from the movements that caused your injury in the first place.
A Grade III strain is when the muscle or tendon suffers a large tear.
If this is the case, then you will most likely require surgery in order to repair the damage.
Other signs of an elbow strain can include your forearm muscles spasming, loss of grip strength and sometimes a cracking sound in your elbow when you bend your arm.
Not to be confused or mistaken for tendonitis!
Tendinosis is when there is degeneration of the collagen in your tendon.
This occurs as a result of continuous overuse of your arm without allowing your elbow tendon’s to heal and repair properly and/or taking time for rest.
Activities such as typing on a keyboard or using your mouse are not viewed as strenuous movements but they are repetitive enough to cause tendinosis over time.
Just like an elbow strain, tendinosis occurs from doing repetitive movements and actions with your dominant arm.
Symptoms can include pain and tenderness on the inside or outside of your elbow.
And there is usually no sign of swelling or inflammation.
Usual recover times for elbow tendinosis can range from 6 weeks to over a year.
This article gives some great insight into tendinosis
10) Golfers elbow
This is a repetitive strain injury which primarily affects the inner part of your elbow.
But don’t let the name fool you.
It is not just golfers who experience and suffer from bouts of golfers elbow.
Any sort of repeated action where you are constantly holding, squeezing or gripping an object combined with wrist flexion is bound to give you a case of golfers elbow over time.
The constant bending and squeezing puts extreme pressure on your forearm flexors.
Overtime, these muscles and tendons can only take so much and start to break down from the wear and tear.
This is when you start to notice even the slightest, dull pain on the inside of your elbow.
Symptoms can include tenderness, pain, inflammation, inner elbow is tender to the touch.
11) Ulnar nerve entrapment
Your ulnar nerve runs down from your the base of your skull down into your arm, under your elbow and into your hand.
It allows you to feel and experience sensation to the flexor muscles in your feet and hands so you ca n bend them properly.
For some individuals their ulnar nerve becomes compressed where it passes through their elbow.
When this occurs, you can experience pain and tingling in your elbow and even your hand and fourth and fifth fingers.
Your elbow joint will be very tender when you bend and extend your arm.
Physical therapy can help with the treatment of ulnar nerve entrapment.
Also anti-inflammatory meds can help with pain relief and any swelling of your elbow.
12) Tennis elbow
Last but by no means least..
The most common injury to the elbow is tennis elbow.
Millions of people are inflicted with this condition every year.
But here’s the thing!
You don’t have to play tennis to be afflicted with this injury.
The only reason it is called “tennis elbow” is because the first ever case that was reported was by a Doctor who was treating a tennis player.
The player indicated to the Doctor that he had pain on the outside of his elbow that got worse anytime he extended his wrist upwards.
And the pain would increase even more when he gripped and held an object tightly – such as a tennis racquet.
This injury is a direct result of performing repetitive movements whereby you are constantly extending your wrist.
The repeated extending of your wrist causes your forearm extensor muscles to strain and fatigue.
As this continues, small tears start to develop at the forearm extensor muscles attachment point at your elbow – the lateral epicondyle.
Like many of the overuse injuries, they rarely ever develop overnight.
You may have noticed just the slightest discomfort in your elbow, perhaps even weeks or months ago.
These were the early warning signs!
And like most people, you ignored it and now your elbow pain is so severe that everyday tasks that you once took for granted are almost impossible.
Your injury could be so severe that you are totally dependant on others to do things such as:
– open the fridge door
– carry your coffee mug to the kitchen table
– carry a bag of trash to the curb
Any of these strike a nerve with you?
Don’t worry because
Not many people are aware of these very strange yet easy-to-follow steps you can take right now
Without even getting up from your computer chair or couch
That will quickly and safely stop your elbow pain for good and
Accelerate your healing time!
All without having to shell out a single penny to your Doctor or Pharmacist.
If you are serious about wiping out your elbow condition for good, watch this video
And everything else will fall into place.
is the author of Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed which has been teaching individuals how to overcome their tennis elbow injury at home since 2005 with over 1,767,986 copies sold.
He is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Exercise Rehab Specialist based in Vancouver, BC, Canada