Arm & Elbow Pain

Arm and elbow pain covers pain on the outside of the elbow (lateral elbow pain), inside elbow pain (medial elbow pain), pain at the back of the elbow, upper arm pain and forearm pain.

The majority of arm and elbow injuries, especially the minor ones, can be treated at home. However, if you have any of the following symptoms you should seek further medical assistance.

All acute and chronic injuries should be treated using the P.R.I.C.E. therapy principle. This should be applied at home for at least the first 2 - 3 days. P.R.I.C.E. stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Tennis Elbow or llateral epicondylitis is probably the most commonly used term for describing pain on the outside of the elbow. However, there are a number of other causes of lateral elbow pain which should be considered. Other potential causes of pain on the outside of the elbow include referred pain, radial tunnel syndrome, synovitis, bursitis and osteochondritis dissecan.

Medial elbow is pain on the inside of the elbow. It usually comes on gradually through overuse but can also be an acute injury, especially when throwing. Golfer's elbow or throwers elbow is probably the most common name given to pain on the inside of the elbow and refers to inflammation or degeneration of the flexor tendon. Other causes include sprains (ligament tears), nerve compression, avulsion fractures apohysitis and pain referred from the upper back or shoulder.

Acute elbow injuries are of sudden onset and caused by a sudden impact or trauma. They include bone fractures, elbow dislocations, ligament sprains and tendon ruptures and are usually caused by a fall onto the arm or elbow or a collision in contact sports.

Posterior elbow pain is pain at the back of the elbow and can be acute, meaning sudden onset or can come on gradually over time. A chronic elbow injury may occur following an acute injury which was not treated properly or has failed to heal.

Pain in the forearm can be sudden onsest (acute) and include fractures of either the radius or ulna bones. Gradual onset pain in the forearm can be caused by nerve impingements or from overuse of the wrist. Or from referred pain higher up the arm or shoulder.

The most common injury in the upper arm is a broken bone (fractured humerus), however strains to the triceps and biceps muscles can also occur.