Common elbow conditions including golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, olecranon bursitis, and cubital tunnel syndrome. These conditions can cause elbow pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is the most common cause of elbow discomfort. Tennis elbow is a tendon problem that most often occurs in patients who never play tennis.Treatment of tennis elbow can be a long frustrating process. Often attributed to 'overuse,' traditional tennis elbow treatment has focused on avoiding exercise and activity. A new treatment uses eccentric strengthening exercises for treatment of tennis elbow pain. Tennis elbow causes pain due to irritation of the extensor tendons of the elbow. These are the tendons often used when lifting objects. Learn how to avoid tennis elbow pain by lifting the right way.

Elbow Bursitis

Elbow bursitis, also called olecranon bursitis, causes fluid to collect in a sac that lies behind the elbow, called the olecranon bursa. A bursa is a slippery, sac-like tissue that normally allows smooth movement around bony prominences, such as the point behind the elbow. When a bursa becomes inflamed, the sac fills with fluid. This can cause pain and a noticeable swelling behind the elbow.

Golfer's elbow

Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is similar to its counterpart, tennis elbow. The primary differences between these conditions are the location of the pain and the activity that leads to injury. However, both conditions are caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, leading to inflammation and pain around the elbow joint. The mechanism of this injury can vary from a single violent action to, more commonly, repetitive stress injury where an action is performed repeatedly and pain gradually develops. No one is immune from these injuries, but they are most common at the beginning of the golf season, or when the offending activity is increased in intensity or duration. Golf is one common cause of these symptoms, but many other sport- and work-related activities can cause the same problem. Another common cause of this injury is with weekend carpenters who use hand tools on occasion.

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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Nerve compression syndromes cause symptoms including pain, numbness, and weakness. Nerves can become pinched for a variety of reasons. Most people are familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition where the median nerve is pinched in the wrist.

In the case of cubital tunnel syndrome, one of the other nerves of the upper extremity -- the ulnar nerve -- is pinched as it passes behind the elbow. This is the same nerve that causes the tingling sensation of hitting your "funny bone."

Hitting your funny bone is actually a sensation caused by irritating the ulnar nerve behind the elbow. When struck, this causes a shooting sensation and tingling in the small and ring fingers. The ulnar nerve transmits signals to your brain about sensations in these fingers -- that's why the fingers tingle when you hit the nerve in your elbow.

The Radial Tunnel

campus physical therapyThe symptoms of radial tunnel syndrome closely resemble tennis elbow, although the cause is different. Radial tunnel syndrome is caused when the nerve that operates several muscles around the wrist and hand (the posterior interosseous nerve) is compressed, or pinched. This causes weakness of the muscles supplied by the nerve and pain over the elbow where the compression takes place.

Biceps Tendon Rupture

A biceps tendon rupture is an injury that occurs to the biceps tendon causing the attachment to separate from the bone. A normal biceps tendon is connected strongly to the bone. When the biceps tendon ruptures, this tendon is detached. Following a biceps tendon rupture, the muscle cannot pull on the bone, and certain movements may be weakened and painful.