July 01, 2014

Elbow pain

Strengthening can help

Elbow

The outside of your elbow has been sore for some time, and there's an especially sharp pain when you carry something in that arm. That's why you've been avoiding carrying things and have generally avoided activities that involve use of the arm, such as gardening. Despite the rest, it hasn't improved much. Is there anything you can do to make it better?

Most elbow pain is related to overuse that results in irritation and tissue degeneration near areas where tendons connect to bones of the elbow joint. You may have heard the terms tennis elbow or golfer's elbow to describe the most common forms of elbow injury.

In the absence of bone fracture, elbow injuries usually aren't serious. But the nagging pain can stop or limit your ability to work around the house or enjoy activities such as tennis and golf. Self-care tips are often a good initial step. However, receiving a diagnosis from your doctor can help discover or rule out other causes of elbow pain — and can get you going on a specific treatment plan tailored to your injury.

Hinge with a twist

Your elbow is a hinge joint with a bonus element of allowing your lower arm to twist. The biceps and triceps muscles in the upper arm are mostly responsible for powering the movement of the elbow joint.

However, it's the tendons that connect to the muscles of the forearm — which power wrist and hand movement — that cause most of the trouble.

Another part...