Arthralgia, Elbow Pain

Arms | Rheumatology | Arthralgia, Elbow Pain (Symptom)


The elbow is the point where three long bones meet in the middle portion of the arm. Elbow pain is most often the result of tendinitis, which can affect the inner or outer elbow.


Elbow pain can be caused by many conditions. Usually, in the case of adults, it is due to tendonitis, an inflammation and injury to the tendons, the soft tissues that attach muscle to bone.

Elbow pain can also occur in some sports. Racquet sports players are most inclined to injure the tendons on the outside of the elbow. This condition is commonly called tennis elbow. Golfers are more likely to injure the tendons on the inside of the elbow.

Young children commonly develop nursemaid's elbow, usually when someone is pulling on their straightened arm. The bones are stretched apart momentarily and a ligament slips in between, where it becomes trapped when the bones try to snap back into place. Children will usually quietly refuse to use the arm, but often cry out with any attempt to bend or straighten the elbow. This condition is also called an elbow subluxation.

Other common causes of elbow pain are: bursitis, the inflammation of a fluid-filled cushion beneath the skin, arthritis described as narrowing of the joint space and loss of cartilage in the elbow, elbow strains, infection of the elbow or fractures.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment may include ice, rest, and medication for inflammation. Treatment for more serious elbow pain depends upon the nature of the patient's underlying disease or condition.