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Sharp Pain in Elbow

Sharp Pain in Elbow

Elbow joint pain can make a person's life miserable, since elbow is an important joint for performing daily tasks. Sharp pain in the elbow could be due to various reasons. Let's explore a few of them.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Last Updated: Apr 7, 2018
Elbow joint can be considered as the most crucial functional joint in our body. Most of our movements are associated with the elbow joint. Naturally, the elbow joint is subjected to a lot of stress. This is probably the reason an elbow joint is prone to injuries. Sharp pain in the elbow is no more restricted to mountaineers or sports persons, it has taken a form of common injury these days.
Causes of Sharp Pain in Elbow
Sharp pain in the elbow is often an indication of an injury to either a muscle, tendon or a ligament. The severity of the injuries can range from minor to serious.
Elbow Dislocation
This is a serious form of elbow injury and mainly results from a fall over an out stretched arm. The elbow should be treated immediately by a medical practitioner, else it may result in permanent deformation. In such a situation, the person experiences an excruciating elbow pain combined with an immediate loss of range of motion.
Elbow Fracture
Fractures of the elbow occur more commonly at the radial head. Pain while flexion of the arm indicates a fracture in the humerus. Fractures are often associated with swelling, bruising and damage to the blood vessels in the elbow region. If the person is not treated properly, it may lead to a permanent dislocation of elbow joint.
Ruptures and Tearing of Muscles
Older athletes are more prone to this form of elbow injury. The person experiences a sharp pain in his elbow after repetitive lifting exercises. A surgery is usually recommended for the correction of the ruptured tendon.
Olecranon Bursitis
The inflammation to the connective tissue called 'bursa' results in olecranon bursitis. A person experiences an acute pain at the tip of the elbow which increases with the movement of the elbow. The cause of olecranon bursitis is the accumulation of blood and serous fluid in the subcutaneous structure. Overuse of the elbow joint leads to this injury.
Tendinitis
There are three types of tendinitis.
Lateral Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow:  Results from the microscopic scarring of extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon, which is located on the lateral region of the elbow.
Medial Epicondylitis or Golfer's Elbow: Results from chronic wrist flexion. It leads to an inflammation in the forearm flexor muscles and the pronator teres tendon.
Biceps Tendinitis: Results from the recurrent flexion of the biceps muscle. Inflammation of the biceps muscle leads to pain in the anterior region of the elbow.
Arthritis
Arthritis is the cause of chronic joint pain. There are three types of arthritis namely osteoarthritis (OA), postraumatic arthritis (PA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Arthritis restricts the movement of the elbow by stiffening it. It is common amongst elderly people.
Sharp pain in your elbow should never be ignored, as it may lead to permanent damage to the elbow joint. Elbow pain restricts the movements of the elbow and affects the quality of a person's life.