Medial elbow pain is pain on the inside of the elbow and can arise from a number of causes.
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 on the inside of the elbow.
If you are not sure what your injury is then why not try our symptom checker.
Or see below where we outline the most common causes of medial elbow pain, less common causes as well as any important conditions that should not be missed.
Common causes of medial elbow pain
Golfer's elbow is a general term used to describe pain on the inside of the elbow, however the most common cause is flexor tendinopathy, also referred to as medial epiconylitis. Epicondylitis refers specifically to inflammation of the tendons of the flexor / pronator muscle as they insert into the inside of the elbow. Often true inflammation is not the cause of pain and tendinopathy is a more accurate term as this includes degeneration of the tendon.
Symptoms include pain on the bony bit on the inside of the elbow (called the medial epicondyle), particularly when gripping things hard with the hand. The patient will feel usually weakness in the wrist. Golfers elbow symptoms are often reproduced by bending the wrist palm downwards against resistance and resisting pronation or rotating the wrist inwards which is a test done to aid in the diagnosis of this injury.
Medial elbow ligament sprain is a sprain or tear to the medial collateral ligament on the inside of the elbow. This can be acute or chronic. An acute injury is one caused by a sudden trauma, impact or twisting of the elbow. Symptoms will include sudden pain and swelling. A chronic medial elbow ligament sprain develops gradually over time either from over use, poor technique and repetitive strain, or from an acute injury that has not healed properly.
Less common causes of inside elbow pain
Ulnar nerve compression is compression to the ulna nerve which runs down the inside of the elbow. This is usually caused by an impact which compresses the nerve and is commonly referred to as hitting your funny bone! Symptoms include pain on the inside and back of the elbow with tingling and numbness down the arm and into the ring finger and little pinky finger.
Avulsion fracture of the medial epiconyle is when the tend comes away from the bone and can take part of the bone with it.
Apohysitis is a condition affecting children and adolescents and is a crumbling of the bone at the point the tendon attaches to. It is similar to apohysitis in the knee (Osgood schlatters disease) or at the back of the heel (Severs' diease). Apohysitis is usually something children will grow out of by the age of 16 or 17 although the condition does need to be managed properly with plenty of rest. Applying ice or cold therapy can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Important do not miss
Referred pain is where an injury or problem elsewhere in the body causes pain on the outside of the elbow. Pain can be referred from the cervical spine (or neck area) as well as the upper back. It is important to consider this as a possible cause of pain on the inside of the elbow especially in the long standing injury that is not responding to treatment.