Elbow and forearm pain are common conditions that may present at any age. Symptoms can be attributed to the joint itself, the tendons that attach the muscles to the bone, bursae that provide protection from friction and nerves that supply information to and from the brain. No matter what the cause; pain around the elbow can have a significant impact on your activities of daily living, quality of life, ability to work and play.
Symptoms can be extremely painful however it is rarely a sign of anything serious. Pain can settle to a comfortable level in a few weeks following sensible advice, rest, and self-help treatments. If you are concerned and symptoms do not go away, then seek help and try not to self-diagnose. At Fay Pedler physiotherapy clinic our expert physios will diagnose your elbow condition and provide the best treatment options for recovery. Below we discuss common conditions that effect the elbow.
Common conditions that affect the elbow
- Tendon pain around the elbow
- ‘Tennis elbow’ – lateral epicondylitis
- ‘Golfers elbow’ – medial epicondylitis
- Bicep pain – tendinopathy
- Radial head fractures
- Olecranon Bursitis
- Osteoarthritis of the elbow
- Nerve entrapment (inc Cubital tunnel syndrome )
Managing Symptoms of Elbow Pain
A balance between rest and activity is important to maintain good elbow mobility and prevent painful stiffness through disuse. Avoid movements that cause pain which experience suggest occurs with gripping and rotating movements, reaching away from the body and lifting. Continue to move the problem elbow into ranges that have little or tolerable pain, assisting the injured elbow with the pain-free arm is also helpful. As pain levels improve try to move the elbow further until back to normal.
Hot or Cold Therapy
A hot water bottle, microwaved wheat bag or reusable heat pads can be helpful in soothing sore muscles applied for 20mins every hour or so. Frozen peas or a bag of ice equally are effective in soothing sore elbows and reducing inflammation. Ensure a towel or cloth is placed between your skin and the hot or cold treatment to avoid burns.
Visit our page on muscle injuries for further information:
Analgesia (Pain Relief)
Simple analgesia, such as paracetamol could be used immediately to help with any ongoing ache, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen from 72 hours after injury can be taken helpful. Discuss with your pharmacist the best combination and alternatives if pain remains intrusive.
When to Seek Professional Help
Unless you have had an accident or known cause for the elbow problem you are good to try a course of self-management for a couple of weeks. At this time if symptoms are no better you are advised to speak with your doctor or better still, make an appointment to see one of the Fay Pedler physiotherapists who will provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan within an hour of you meeting.
A small amount of the treatments available are:
- Elbow joint mobilisations
- Soft tissue massage and trigger point release
- Individual tailored exercise programme
- Shockwave Therapy
If together we feel that your elbow symptoms require further investigations or the skills of an orthopaedic surgeon we will (with your consent) request your GP initiates the appropriate referrals to the NHS or private providers.