The elbow is a hinged joint made up of three bones, the humerus, ulna, and radius. The ends of the bones are covered with cartilage and held together with ligaments that form the joint capsule, while tendons connect your bones to muscles to allow you to move your arm in different ways.
We use our elbows extensively in daily life, such as activities that involve throwing, lifting and swinging. Elbow injuries/pain often occur from trauma (e.g. sporting injuries, road traffic accidents, breaking a fall with an outstretched hand). These high energy injuries can result in fractures, dislocations and sprains/strains of the elbow. On the other hand, the elbow is also prone to wear and tear over time from repetitive overuse, causing injuries such as inflamed tendons (i.e. tennis/golfer’s elbow). Certain medical conditions such as arthritis and lupus can cause pain and swelling over the elbow as well.
Elbow pain can happen to anyone — whether you’re very sedentary, very active or somewhere in between. But your risk may be increased by participating in contact sports, doing repetitive work and carrying heavy loads. Here are some common causes of elbow pain that require prompt medical attention and care: