Medial Elbow Pain (Inside Elbow)

Medial elbow pain

Pain on the inside of the elbow either comes on gradually through overuse (chronic injuries) or can be sudden onset (acute injuries). Golfer’s elbow, sometimes called throwers elbow, is probably the most common name given to pain on the inside of the elbow.

Advert

Click headings below to expand:

Chronic medial elbow pain

Chronic elbow injuries develop gradually over time and are caused by overuse. The most common causes of chronic medial elbow pain are:

Golfer’s Elbow

Golfers elbow

Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is an overuse injury similar to tennis elbow. Symptoms include:

  • Pain on the inside of the elbow instead.
  • Symptoms usually develop gradually over a period of time, rather than being a sudden acute pain.

Biceps Tendonitis

Biceps tendonitis

Biceps tendonitis is an overuse injury causing pain and inflammation on the inside/front of the elbow.

  • Symptoms include thickening and redness over the front of the elbow, where the biceps tendon inserts.
  • Pain or discomfort may be felt when bending the arm against resistance (e.g. bicep curl exercise).
  • You may also experience pain or discomfort on the front and inside of the elbow when writing.

Ulnar Neuritis

Inflammation of the ulnar nerve in the elbow can occur for a number of reasons. Symptoms of pain on the inside of the elbow, more towards the back of the elbow behind the medial epicondyle (a bony bit on the inside of the elbow). In particular pins and needles, tingling or numbness will be felt, which may radiate into the forward and fingers.


Elbow Apophysitis

Apophysitis 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 apophysitis in the knee (Osgood Schlatter disease) or at the back of the heel (Severs’ disease).

  • Apophysitis 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.

Acute medial elbow pain

Acute elbow injuries are caused from sudden trauma and include fractures, sprains and strains.

Ulna Nerve Contusion

Ulna nerve

The ulnar nerve runs down the inside of the elbow.

  • If you knock the inside of the elbow, you can hit the ulnar nerve (or funny bone) which causes a numbness or tingling down the forearm into the fourth and fifth fingers.
  • When this nerve becomes trapped or damaged through repetitive strain or a direct impact, it creates this sensation and can cause elbow pain.

Medial Elbow Ligament Sprain

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) of the elbow is situated on the inside of the elbow and helps to provide stability to the joint.

  • A tear of this ligament can occur either as a sudden onset acute injury or as a chronic, gradual onset injury through overuse.
  • Symptoms include pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow.
  • Bruising and swelling may be present for more severe injuries.

Elbow Avulsion Fracture

An avulsion fracture occurs when the tendon which joins muscle to bone is torn at the point or insertion into the bone, pulling a part of the bone is torn away with it.

  • It is more common in children with symptoms and may feel similar to a sprain.
  • Symptoms include immediate pain at the time of injury on the inside of the elbow, swelling and reduced ability to move the arm.
  • An X-ray or MRI scan may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Osteochondritis dissecans in the elbow joint

Osteochonritis dissecans elbow

Osteochondritis dissecans is fragmentation of the cartilage and sometimes the underlying bone that lines the ends of bones in the elbow joint.

  • It is common in adolescents as the ends of the bones are not yet fully hardened.
  • It may be caused, or exacerbated by throwing sports.
  • Symptoms include locking and clicking of the elbow, swelling which comes and goes, restricted movement, intermittent pain and pain after activity.

Related articles

  • Elbow pain

    Here we explain the common causes of elbow pain. Specifically sudden onset (acute) elbow injuries, as well as pain on the outside, inside and back…

  • Posterior elbow pain is a pain at the back of the elbow. It may develop gradually over time (chronic), or occur suddenly from a direct…

  • Acute elbow injuries

    Acute elbow injuries occur suddenly and include fractures, tendon ruptures, dislocations, and ligament sprains. Ligament sprains can occur suddenly, or may develop over time through…

  • Elbow pain

    Lateral elbow pain refers to pain on the outside of the elbow. The most common cause of pain on the outside of the elbow is…

  • Elbow & Foream Fractures

    An elbow fracture is a break in one of the bones which form the elbow joint. There are three bones which could be broken: the…

  • Elbow & Wrist Exercises

    After an elbow or wrist injury, rehabilitation exercises should be performed, but only as soon as pain allows. Here we explain exercises to improve mobility…

  • Elbow, Arm & Wrist Stretches

    Elbow and arm stretching exercises are usually most important when rehabilitating an elbow or wrist injury, and include wrist flexors, wrist extensors, tennis elbow stretch,…

Scroll to Top