Elbow Pain
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Reviewed By:

Kent C Doan, MD

Kent C Doan, MD (Orthopedic surgery)

Dr Doan Graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine and completed residency training in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Colorado. He completed additional fellowship training in Orthopedic Sports Medicine at the prestigious Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colorado. He is a practicing Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in complex and revision knee and shoulder surgery at the Kansas City Orthopedic Institute. He also holds an assistant professorship at the University of Kansas City.

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD (Orthopedic surgery)

Dr. Hamahata graduated from the Jikei University of Medical Science. After working at Asanokawa General Hospital and Kosei Chuo Hospital, he joined the Department of Orthopedics at Asakusa Hospital in April 2021, specializing in general orthopedics and joint replacement surgery.

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Content updated on Jan 4, 2023

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People with similar symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • I have pain in both elbows

  • Sleeping is difficult because my elbow hurts

  • Hurts to bend arm (elbow)

  • I can't bend or straighten my arm because of pain

  • Elbow pain that gets worse when wringing a towel

  • Elbow hurts even more when turning a doorknob

  • Elbow throbbing through the night

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About the Symptom

This refers to pain or discomfort arising from any part of the elbow joint. It can be aching, sharp, dull, or pressing in nature.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Recent weight loss

  • Numbness / sensory disorder

  • Repeated fever above 38 ℃

  • Swelling of the affected area

  • Fever

Possible causes

Generally, Elbow pain can be related to:

  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

    Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a type of arthritis that occurs in children under 16 years old. It's a chronic condition characterized by joint pain and swelling that can last for months or years. It affects one or more joints for at least 6 weeks. JIA occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues The cause of JIA is unknown.

  • Sjogren syndrome

    An autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the organs that produce tears and saliva, resulting in dry eyes and dry mouth. In some cases, internal organs can also be gradually affected. Disease severity is highly variable.

  • Osteoarthritis (OA)

    Wear and tear of the joint cartilage over time. Risk factors include repetitive joint movements and carrying heavy loads for many years.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Adult Still's disease
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Cervical spondylosis

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Elbow pain may be related to these serious diseases:

  • Decompression sickness

    Decompression sickness (also called "the bends") refers to problems caused by a rapid decrease in surrounding pressure (either air or water). This causes gases to dangerously shift out of the bloodstream. It most commonly occurs during scuba diving when surfacing too quickly. Rarely, it can happen in airplanes, typically in military pilots traveling at high speeds through upper and lower atmosphere layers.

  • Elbow dislocation / nursemaid's elbow

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Do you have pain in your elbow?

  • Do your arms or legs feel weak?

  • Is the affected area red?

  • Is the affected area swollen?

  • Do you feel any numbness or altered sensation?

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Find Similar Symptoms

Symptoms from similar body parts

References

  • Kane SF, Lynch JH, Taylor JC. Evaluation of elbow pain in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2014 Apr 15;89(8):649-57. PMID: 24784124.

    https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2014/0415/p649.html

  • Arrigoni P, Cucchi D, Menon A, Randelli P. It's time to change perspective! New diagnostic tools for lateral elbow pain. Musculoskelet Surg. 2017 Dec;101(Suppl 2):175-179. doi: 10.1007/s12306-017-0486-8. Epub 2017 Aug 2. PMID: 28770509.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12306-017-0486-8

  • Daniels SP, De Tolla JE, Azad A, Fritz J. Imaging Evaluation of Medial and Lateral Elbow Pain: Acute and Chronic Tendon Injuries of the Humeral Epicondyles. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2021 Aug;25(4):589-599. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1731790. Epub 2021 Oct 27. PMID: 34706389.

    https://www.thieme-connect.de/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-0041-1731790

  • Cohen-Rosenblum A, Bielski RJ. Elbow Pain After a Fall: Nursemaid's Elbow or Fracture? Pediatr Ann. 2016 Jun 1;45(6):e214-7. doi: 10.3928/00904481-20160506-01. PMID: 27294496.

    https://journals.healio.com/doi/10.3928/00904481-20160506-01

  • Descatha A, Despréaux T, Calfee RP, Evanoff B, Saint-Lary O. Progressive elbow pain. BMJ. 2016 Apr 5;353:i1391. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i1391. PMID: 27048479.

    https://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i1391

Reviewed By:

Kent C Doan, MD

Kent C Doan, MD (Orthopedic surgery)

Dr Doan Graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine and completed residency training in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Colorado. He completed additional fellowship training in Orthopedic Sports Medicine at the prestigious Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colorado. He is a practicing Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in complex and revision knee and shoulder surgery at the Kansas City Orthopedic Institute. He also holds an assistant professorship at the University of Kansas City.

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD (Orthopedic surgery)

Dr. Hamahata graduated from the Jikei University of Medical Science. After working at Asanokawa General Hospital and Kosei Chuo Hospital, he joined the Department of Orthopedics at Asakusa Hospital in April 2021, specializing in general orthopedics and joint replacement surgery.

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