Elbow pain should never stop you from participating in the activities you love, though elbow tendonitis can be a major obstacle. Elbow tendonitis is a common condition that occurs from overuse of the elbow, and comes along with pain and a variety of other symptoms. Continue reading to learn about elbow tendonitis and how it can be treated.
What is Tendonitis of the Elbow?
Tendonitis in the elbow is caused by inflammation of the tendons that run through the forearm to the elbow. When you overuse your arm playing tennis, golf, or other repetitive motions, it can cause microscopic tears to the muscles and tendons resulting in swelling and pain. Tendonitis in elbow is the most common cause of elbow pain.
What Causes Tendonitis in the Elbow
Tendonitis in the elbow can be caused by many different factors. Since the symptoms appear gradually it can be difficult to discern the cause. If you fall into one of these three categories, it may be the contributing cause of your elbow tendonitis.
The most common cause of elbow tendonitis is overuse. Repeated movements begin to wear the muscles and tendons in your forearm. This causes microscopic tears in the muscle, which causes pain and inflammation. Begin slowly if you are starting an exercise program that involves significant elbow mobility.
As you would expect, tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow can be caused by their respective sports. However, elbow tendonitis can be caused by a long list of different activities. The most common perpetrators are weightlifting, carpentry, or any activity that requires repetitive motion while holding a strong grip.
Elbow Tendonitis Symptoms
Symptoms of tendonitis in elbow appear gradually. The pain normally occurs in your dominant arm but can happen in either. If you have any of these symptoms of elbow tendonitis check with your doctor to find out the next steps.
- Pain and tenderness in the elbow and forearm.
- Grip strength is weakened.
- Numbness or tingling in the arm and fingers.
- Stiffness in your elbow.
Elbow Tendonitis Diagnosis
Getting a diagnosis from your doctor will be the first step on your path to a full recovery. Your doctor will take a full health history and perform a physical exam. Be ready to tell your doctor your symptoms, when they occur, and exactly where you experience pain or discomfort.
An x-ray will provide a clear picture of the bones in the elbow and arm. It will help your doctor rule out arthritis.
Electromyography (EMG) will rule out nerve compression in your arm and wrist, which are often confused with elbow tendonitis.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides the best soft tissue pictures for your doctor. These images will help your doctor determine the next steps for your treatment.
Elbow Tendonitis Treatment
With a wide range of treatments available, finding a safe and effective path to elbow tendonitis recovery doesn't have to be a struggle. See all of the best options below.
Surgery is the last resort for elbow tendonitis. If symptoms do not improve within six to twelve months surgery is typically recommended. The surgery involves removal of the damaged tendon or muscle with reattachment of healthy muscle or tendon back to the bone.
As with all surgeries, there are risks. Infection, loss of strength, nerve or muscle damage are all possibilities that your surgeon will discuss with you before the operation.
Products that Help Reduce Elbow Tendonitis
Elbow Tendonitis Recovery
In standard elbow tendonitis surgery, patients can expect to go home the same day. Your arm will be immobilized for approximately one week using a splint.
Once the splint is removed elbow tendonitis rehab will begin! You will be given a set of stretching exercises to regain flexibility in your arm and elbow. If recovery has gone well you will be able to start exercise after four to six months.
Healing Elbow Tendonitis
In most cases, elbow tendonitis can be healed with rest, ice, and over the counter pain medications. If these therapies are not effective take a look at our extensive list of braces, exercises, and so much more. Learn as much as possible about treating tendonitis in elbow and you will have a huge head start on a quick recovery!