Spence Rehabilitation Center
1650 45th Ave. Suite 2C
Munster, IN 46321
Visit our Porter County location!
1620 Country Club Rd. Ste E
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone : (219) 513-2267
What are some causes of elbow pain?
1. Lateral Epicondylitis:
Also known as tennis elbow. It is inflammation of the
tendons that attach the wrist extensors to the elbow. Pain
is usually at the outer part of the elbow and aggrevated
with lifting and repetitive wrist extension.
2. Medial Epicondylitis:
Also known as golfers elbow. It is inflammation of the
tendons that attach the wrist flexors to the elbow. Pain
is usually at the inside of the elbow also aggrevated with
lifting and repetitive activities.
3. Olecranon Bursitis:
Inflammation of a fluid filled sac that sits on a bony
prominence that makes up the elbow. Symptoms include
pain and swelling behind the elbow usually after elbow
trauma or an infection. It can also develop after resting
your elbow on a hard surface for a long time.
4. Tendinitis:
Inflammation of the tendons attaching muscles to the
elbow. Common muscles affected are biceps which flexes
the elbow and triceps which extends the elbow.
5. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome:
Irritation of the ulnar nerve as it passes through a grove
on the inner elbow. Symptoms can include pain shooting
from the forearm down to the fingers. Numbness can be
present particularly in the ring and little finger as well as
weakness in the muscles of the hand.
6. Radial Tunnel Syndrome: 
Irritation of the posterior interosseous nerve at the
forearm about 4cm below the elbow. Symptoms can
sometimes resemble tennis elbow and can also include
weakness in wrist extension.
7. Elbow Fractures:
Typically associated with trauma such as sports injuries
and falls. Common fracture include olecranon fractures
and radial head fractures. See your doctor if you have
severe pain and swelling and are unable to bend the
What tests are used to assess elbow pain?
1. Physical exam:
To look for redness, tenderness, and elbow range of
2. Xrays of the elbow:
Are used to evaluate for fracture and arthritis.
3. Ultrasound of the elbow:
High frequency sound waves are used to evaluate the
cartilage, bone surface, and fluid containing structures.
4. MRI of the elbow:
To assess the ligaments and soft tissues for
5. Joint aspiration:
Some of the fluid can be drawn from the joint to check
for inflammatory disease and infection.
6. EMG and Nerve conduction studies:
Can be used to determine if a nerve is entrapped
and if so, how severe.

When should you see your doctor for elbow pain?

1. Inability to carry objects or use the arm
2. Injury that causes deformity of the joint
3. Elbow pain that occurs at night or while resting
4. Elbow pain that persists beyond a few days
5. Inability to straighten or flex the arm
6. Swelling or significant bruising around the
joint or arm
7. Signs of an infection, including fever, redness,
8. Any other unusual symptoms

What are some treatment options for elbow pain?

1. Rest:
Refrain from excessive activity for a few days to allow
the pain and swelling to subside.
2. Ice and Heat:
Use Ice packs after a recent injury to decrease the
pain and swelling. Heat is helpful for pain chronic pain
before your exercise routine.
3. Stretching the wrist flexors, extensors, and rotator
muscles and tendons that surround the elbow can
help with some causes of elbow pain.
4. Physical Therapy:
The ideal therapy program should be individualized
to manage the underlying diagnosis but may include
range of motion exercises as well as stretching,
strengthening, and endurance training of the wrist
flexors, extensors, pronators, and supinators of the
5. Nonsteroid anti-inflammatory medications
To help limit pain and inflammation.
6. Cortisone injections:
Provides a high dose steroid to the affected area
while minimizing systemic side effects commonly
seen with medications taken by mouth.
7. Bracing:
A tennis elbow strap can help improve pain originating
from both medial and lateral epicondylitis. An elbow
extension splint can be used to treat cubital tunnel
syndrome and ulnar nerve compression at the elbow.
8. Surgery:
If fractures are severe, surgical fixation using pins may
be needed. For severe epicondylitis, fasciotomy is
sometimes performed. Surgeons can also release
compressed nerves at the elbow and forearm.
"Nothing contained on this website should be interpreted to be medical advice. This website is for general information only.
Please consult a physician for medical advice regarding any medical condition."
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