Elbow and Forearm Pain

Pain in elbow and forearm may be a big hindrance in your daily activities and chores. From simply lifting a pen to driving a vehicle, everything becomes a painful task. Read the paragraphs below to know more about the probable causes of this pain and some tips to keep it in check.
The elbow joint is one of the important parts of our body. The movements of the hand are mostly dependent on the strength and flexibility of the elbow joint. Elbow joint forms a crucial part of the hand, as it acts as an epicenter of the force that is distributed to the hand. No doubt, elbow joint is subjected to stress. The anatomy of elbow is inherently designed to handle the daily activities efficiently. But Elbow joints are prone to injuries due to stress and excessive wear and tear, that can cause pain of varying degrees.

Symptoms of the Pain
Pain in the elbow joint usually extends to other parts of the hand and can be felt while stretching the arms. The pain can also be characterized by soreness around elbow area, weak grip of the fingers, difficulty in trying to grasp objects and a feeling of dull ache when the hand is at rest, after some mild activity. There may also be some reddening and inflammation, and a constant tingling sensation in the region of elbow and forearm that may radiate to the upper arm as well.

Causes of the Pain
The reasons for the pain in elbow and forearm can be any one of the following.

Tendinitis
Tendinitis is an inflammation or swelling in the elbow area, that can be felt by touching the elbow. The term tendinitis is usually used for the complications in the tendons of the elbow and forearm. There are three types of the tendinitis pain that usually affect the elbow. Lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow, happens due to the scarring of the tendon in the lateral elbow area. Medial epicondylitis or golfer's elbow, is caused due to wrist flexion. Biceps Tendinitis occurs due to the recurrent flexion of the biceps muscles.

Injuries and Fracture
Elbow and forearm pain can be a result of an injury to the elbow, that can be caused either due to the injury of a tendon or a ligament. Sudden accidents can lead to fractures in the elbow joints and can cause pain in the forearms and the elbow. Elbow pain happens due to the swelling and damage to the blood vessels of the elbow. The ligaments and tendons may get damaged leading to sharp pain in elbow.

Dislocation
It often happens, that there is no fracture in the elbow joints but the elbow joints are dislocated from their normal place and this can be extremely painful. Once the elbow joint is dislocated, an immediate action must be taken and the person should be taken to a medical expert. If left untreated for a long time, the elbow joint can be permanently dislocated.

Olecranon Bursitis
Also known as student's elbow or baker's elbow, this condition is characterized by pain and inflammation of olecranon bursa that is situated in the elbow. The bursa helps in the movement of the elbow joint and becomes inflamed due to repeated minor injuries or sudden shock. This may also be caused due to repetitive use of the joint like playing tennis or working at a computer.

Arthritis
A chronic pain in the joints is called arthritis. Both the types of arthritis, viz. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, affect the bones and joints and cause slow movement of the elbow and forearm by stiffening it.

Tips to Reduce the Pain in Elbow Area
If you experience pain in the elbow, you should try to find the cause behind it. If you have elbow pain you can use the following tips to reduce it.
  • Wrap some ice in a cloth and apply it on the area (for half an hour) where you are experiencing pain. Increase the duration of applying ice, if the pain lasts for a long time. Carry on this process for few days.
  • If the pain persists on moving the forearm or elbow joints, use an air splint and support it so that the pain can be lessened.
  • It is advisable that you don't return to the activity that was a cause of elbow forearm injury. Take adequate rest and let the injury or pain heal for some specific time.
  • Consult a physical therapist and learn some physical therapy exercises that can help you improve the condition of the elbow joint.
Elbow and forearm pain can be cured with treatment and by following a disciplined exercise program. This pain should not be ignored or dealt carelessly with for a long time, as it may lead to a permanent damage to the elbow and forearms. Timely medical checkups and treatment is a must to keep the elbow from any permanent damage.