All the Ailments of the Elbow Explained

Twinges and uncomfortable pain in the elbow region is sometimes not a big deal, but it’s definitely not something to ignore. If you have ever wondered about all the things that can happen to your elbow, today is your day. We take a look at several conditions and injuries that can happen and how you can heal from them.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow happens when there is a repetitive motion to the tendons around the elbow. There is a pain right at the bony part of the elbow from overuse and can be debilitating. While it’s called tennis elbow, tennis players are not the only people who can suffer the affliction. Plumbers, butchers, carpenters, and painters are also prone to the discomfort of tennis elbow. In severe cases, you may need elbow surgery to relieve your pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect many of the joints in the body, it’s a disease that particularly targets the elbow. If one elbow is affected, it’s highly likely that the other one will be too.  Arthritic pain is particularly difficult to manage but there are some ways. Treatments include medications, immobilization, rest, and sometimes surgery (often as a last resort).

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Cellphone Elbow

As we become more dependent on our cellphones, laptops, and tablets, the more we will experience a new type of pain in the elbow. Cellphone elbow, or cubital tunnel syndrome, is just one of these “high-tech” ailments hitting many individuals. This one affects the ulnar nerve, which is more commonly referred to as the funny bone, and can mimic some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel. As pressure is placed on the nerve, that has very little padding around it, it can cause numbness in your ring and pinkie fingers. Keeping your elbow bent, say to scroll through Facebook on your phone, can result in stretching the nerve in an unnatural position behind the elbow. This can also occur in sleep. Treatment often includes minimizing activity that causes pressure or stretching. Yes, that is a nice way of telling you to put the phone down at night and relax after work. Wearing a brace or stint is sometimes needed, especially for sleep, to keep the nerve from stretching.

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The Selfie Elbow

Another new condition that is a result of technology is the selfie elbow. It is very similar to tendinitis in that it creates uncomfortable pain in the tendons around the elbow. What is different is the fact that it’s a result of funky arm positioning rather than from a repetitive movement involving exercise or work. The positioning of the arm and wrist and how long we hold that position to get the right picture all play a part. Since we are huge fans of the selfie and certainly encourage people to get a few pics, the treatment is as simple as easing back on how often you are taking them. Cut back and then moderate how often you take them to keep your elbow happy. Even better, take turns with a friend on taking the pictures or have your friend take your snapshots.

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Who knew that so many different things could happen to the elbow? Between nerves, tendons, and rampant arthritis, it is just as important to take care of our elbows as we do any other body part. If you think about it, we can’t function very well without our elbows so it’s better to keep them healthy. You won’t be able to avoid all the afflictions of the elbow, but taking care now can alleviate the severity and keep them at bay longer.

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