Elbow Health: The Facts You Need to Know

Elbow Joint

Elbow Joint

When considering joint health, there are several standouts that come to mind first, namely the shoulders, knees, and neck. One joint that is integral to a person’s functional ability, that is quite often overlooked, is the elbow. The elbow is one of those things that tend to be taken for granted in the role it plays, from lifting a glass of water to the mouth, to being able to drive a car, until it begins to hurt and impact your daily function.

When it comes to elbow pain, there are different types that a person may feel, often arising from repetitive motions, also called an “overuse injury”. Commonly, people struggle with tendinitis pain (i.e. golfers or tennis elbow, see our previous blog about these conditions if you would like more information), though one more overlooked diagnosis is a nerve compression occurring at the elbow. This type of compression, typically of the ulnar nerve in the arm, can occur from repetitive motions, think factory worker or mail sorting, or from actually compressing the elbow joint throughout the day, think working in an office with your elbows resting on the arm of your chair for hours each day.

Nerve compression pain can come on suddenly and disappear just as quickly throughout the day, people often referred to as a “shock” from the elbow, possibly all the way down to the fingers. One might also experience the nerve pain as different sensations, including: heat, cold, tingling, numbness, burning, and pins and needles.

Elbow pain can be treatable and preventable. If you are suffering from elbow pain, just know that you don’t have to. There are several exercises, stretches, and adjustments that can be made to improve or even alleviate these types of symptoms. Foremost, getting in to see your physical therapist to create a custom exercise program and hands on treatment to treat the cause of your elbow pain or elbow nerve compression. If you are looking for immediate options for some relief before you have a chance to get to physical therapy, I encourage you to visit our technique videos on elbow stretches, as well as strengthening techniques to prevent such injuries from exacerbating or recurring in the future.

Now, if you have any further questions about how to avoid an overuse injury, or if you think that these statements relate to something that you are experiencing, please contact our office to speak to a therapist. And if you’d like more information on how physical therapy could benefit you, check out our free report where we go over the 47 most FAQ’s about Physical Therapy:

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Jessica Rondeau, PTA, BS
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