Elbow Pain refers to any pain felt below the middle of the upper arm, and above the wrist. The elbow is the primary joint at which your arm bends forward and back, as well as the point at which it rotates the wrist. It is the point of attachment of many muscles that generate power, as well as muscles which offer fine control of the fingers and the wrist. For this reason, elbow pain is common in professions with involved or comprehensive upper limb movements, and may be felt by one in three people over the course of their lives.
The elbow is made up of the humerus, the upper bone of the arm, as well as the lower bones of the arm called the radius and the ulna. These three bones all interlock at the elbow joint, and are held in place by ligaments that bridge the joint, as well as by the overlying muscles. The elbow needs to be very flexible in order to accommodate dextrous movements of the upper limb, as well as stable and solid enough that force can be generated using the arm to push, pull, and rotate objects in the world. For this reason, the elbow is a stable but dynamic joint.
The elbow is also covered in muscles that move both the elbow and the wrist, as well as the hand. The muscles that control the fine movements of the fingers all originate from the elbow, before travelling down through the forearm and through the carpal tunnel before attaching to the fingers and producing precise, controlled action. For this reason, pain in the elbow can result in clumsiness, weakness, or pain in the hand. This can be confronting to people who rely on their dexterity to navigate the world.
The elbow is most commonly injured through acute trauma such as a fall or a bad knock. It is common for a strike or blow to the elbow to cause swelling, stiffness, pain, and a loss of function. Such impacts may occur during the course of sporting or work-related activities, or may just as easily be the result of domestic clumsiness. Conversely, the elbow can also experience injury as a result of long-term changes such as wear-down of the joint surfaces or progressive weakness in the muscles overlying it, as is the course in ageing.
Management of Elbow Pain depends on the cause of the pain, how it feels and changes over the day, what makes it better or worse, and the length of time you have been experiencing the pain. All of these factors will be addressed in your initial assessment, which is the first step towards minimising and managing any pain or discomfort. The treatment you receive will be tailored to address the specific cause of your discomfort, and will focus on minimising pain, maximising your ability to move pain free, and developing a plan to minimise the risk of a flare-up in the future.
At Atlas Physio, we will provide you with education, structured management, and ongoing monitoring of your pain both in and out of the clinic. Contact us to arrange an assessment, and to take the first step on a course of corrective care today.