A dull pain or ache in the forearm can be associated with soreness on wrist flexion or extension. Aching forearm can be from an ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow or a compression of the nerve. The extensor muscles of the wrist can become tight causing an aching forearm and in some circumstance the ache can be associated with finger or wrist pain. An aching forearm can also be associated with a burning pain due to referral from the neck (cervical spine) where an injury as occurred.
Acute elbow pain is pain in the elbow which comes on suddenly. The athlete is likely to know the exact point in time when the injury occurred. Chronic or long term elbow injuries can be classed as acute if they flare up or are acutely painful such as an acute episode of golfers elbow. Acute elbow pain can be due to an olecranon bursitis where there is inflammation or a fracture of either the radius or ulnar.
Pain on the back of the elbow can be from a direct blow, referred or an injury to the area or surrounding structures. Triceps brachii muscle injuries such as a strain or tear will have pain at the back of the elbow if low enough. The tendon of the triceps can also cause back elbow pain if an acute or chronic injury as occurred. An olecranon bursitis where it protects the back of the elbow can elicit pain in the area.
Chronic elbow pain develops gradually over time. The athlete is unlikely to be able to pinpoint the exact time the injury occurred. Injuries can develop following an acute injury, which failed to heal properly. They are most common are golfers or tennis elbow where there is an injury to either the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) of the muscles / tendons that make your wrist flex or extend causing epicondylitis. This is where the group of flexor or extensor muscles inserts to the elbow and are common with sports requiring lifting or rackets and sticks.
Pain on the inside of the elbow or medial side can be referred from the neck (cervical spine) or can be due to the surrounding soft tissue or bone. Inside elbow pain can be due to fracture or bone bruises of the ulnar or humerus. The medial collateral ligament or annular ligament can also be injured at the elbow causing inside elbow pain.
Elbow joint locks or gets stuck in a particular position, usually for just a short period of time. This can be due to loose bodies or surface damage. Swelling to the elbow joint can also cause locking and this maybe due to a bleed from an injury or haemotoma. The joint will also have a protective mechanism if the joint is injured with a fracture or a ligament tear or rupture and can therefore lock to prevent further damage.
Pain on the outside of the elbow or lateral side can be acute or chronic it can also be referred via the nervous system. The lateral collateral ligament is associated with pain at the lateral elbow and can either be from a direct blow or can be torn from a landing force. The soft tissue, tendons (tennis elbow), nerves (radial tunnel syndrome), bursa (bursitis) and bones (humerus and radius) can all cause outside pain to the elbow and the pain can be constant or intermittent.
Pins and needles or numbness in the forearm, wrist, hand or fingers indicate neural symptoms usually from the neck (cervical spine) where nerve damage has occurred. It may be felt in the forearm, hand, fingers or elbow depending on the type of injury and can be radiating, burning, intermittent or constant.
Elbow swelling, which may be localized at a specific point as in tennis elbow or golfers elbow can also be associated with or without pain. Elbow joint swelling where the entire joint is swollen can be from arthritis, infections, fractures or severe ligament damage. The swelling creates stiffness and pain on movement and can sometimes throb.
Pain in or on the elbow when gripping things such as a screwdriver, door handle or holding a bag can be acute or chronic. Pain on gripping is usually associated with a flexor or extensor muscle issue or tendonopathy and this can be from overuse or a repetitive strain injury (RSI). Pain on gripping can indicate an epicondylitis problem and can also be associated with inflammation.